The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch ★★★★

HIFF30 - Film #6

The French Dispatch will certainly please hardcore fans of Wes Anderson (like myself), the film is Wes Anderson dialing up his mannerisms to an 11, making this the most Wes Anderson Wes Anderson film to date. Everything from his trademark symmetrical style, his distinct set of humor, and many of his regular performers are all here. That being said, if you're not a fan of Anderson's style, stay far, far away from this movie.

Anderson is definitely experimenting with a lot of different aspects in The French Dispatch and some of it really works. The transitions between black and white and color really worked to this film's benefit. Anderson's films have always looked beautiful, but this is easily one of his best looking films to date. Robert Yeoman's cinematography is stunning and you'd be doing both yourself and the film a major disservice by not seeing it on the big screen. I can totally get how somebody may feel that this is style over substance, but for me at least, I really dug it.

The ensemble is ginormous, which isn't entirely surprising, and there's even some surprise cameos here that I completely didn't expect. Every single performer is just so committed to their roles and even the newcomers to Anderson's films fit perfectly in the film. The biggest stand-out, at least to me, was Jeffrey Wright who gives what is easily one of my favorite performances of the year. Timothee Chalamet, Benicio del Toro, Bill Murray, and Francis McDormand are all great here as well. Tilda Swinton is responsible for some of the biggest laughs of the entire film.

The anthology structure, for the most part, works quite well, though at times, especially towards the end, it did leave me feeling like I wanted a larger emotional core. The film is extremely dense and none of the three main stories overstay their welcome. The film is also, unsurprisingly, very funny and there were several scenes that had my audience roaring with laughter.

I definitely wouldn't say that The French Dispatch is one of Anderson's best films to date but I also wouldn't say it's one of his weakest either. It's just so him and as a big fan of all his past films, to me at least, I felt like I got what I wanted.

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