As part of what we do, we are able to check out trailers and press kits for films before we see them, and I do tend to look into those a bit as I approach a screening. However, when I went into the theater to see Wes Anderson’s newest film, “The French Dispatch,” I went in cold and didn’t even know it was one of his films until afterward.
With an all-star cast that lists Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Henry Winkler, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Mathieu Amalric, Lea Seydoux, and Bob Balaban, “The French Dispatch” is a fictionalized publication used as an insert for a newspaper in Kansas that started in 1925 by the family of Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Murray). As it prepares to publish its final edition, this film playes out as the telling of those stories by the reporters that wrote them.
There truly an incredible cast here, and as great as they are, I really do not see any major nominations next year. Anderson does a great job here changing the visual style between color and black-and-white depending on the scene and even showed some great exterior scenes in France itself.
Not knowing this was Anderson’s film actually helped me even though I really likened it to his previous film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and even thought it was an extension of that film at a certain point. From a storytelling standpoint, I am a bit conflicted. I really liked the first of the stories. The second film weird and confusing (I was not a fan), and I felt the third was simply average. I understand what Anderson was trying to do with “The French Dispatch,” but at the end of it all, it was just OK so I will recommend it to be streamed on something like Netflix.