Review: The French Dispatch

Title: The French Dispatch
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins

What It Is: The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun is a paper run by Arthur Howitzer, Jr. and his family. Upon his death, the paper will cease to exist. His writers have all returned from their assignments and the tales of their stories are placed together to formulate what will be the paper’s swan song. What manner of chaos could these journalists possibly get into? This compilation spells it out for us. 

What We Think: This is such a purposefully disjointed mess. Each little short segment would in and of itself be a well-made short. One thing we know for certain is that Wes Anderson is bound and determined to stay on brand. All the keystones of his work are there. Prevelant and looming large. You’ve got the usual suspects in the cast you’ve got the subtle pastel look to the entire film. Symmetry with whats in frame. Check. It’s too bad the story is awful and it is executed poorly. It’s the nature of this script to tell various stories and chain them together problem is it still manages to feel disjointed regardless.

Our Grade: C, A bit disappointing to say the least. This is certainly an instance of Anderson becoming over indulgent. This can happen when you leave an auteur completely unchecked. With a film like this connecting the anthology is important. Sadly this just comes off as a hodgepodge of ideas that don’t coalesce to much. A vanity project which I don’t think has any place in the patheon of Anderson’s better works. If Darjeeling Limited didn’t exist this might very well be his worst film. Cannot recommend and frankly I’m disappointed in this one.