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Film Review: “The French Dispatch” (2021)


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Only a few filmmakers can deliver a heavy concept and an intelligent story using a humoristic approach. Whether it’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr Fox, Isle of Dogs, or The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson has created a unique collection of films with a peculiar approach to storytelling – creating pretty much a league of his own. No other writer or director can emulate his vision. For that, they need to transport themselves into his mind. And, quite frankly, after seeing The French Dispatch, it will be a difficult task for anyone to execute. 

Set in the fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé, “The French Dispatch” transports the audience into the world of journalism and journalists, as it offers the most interesting short stories in separate segments. Editor Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Bill Murray) goes through the pieces written for a magazine. It’s then we are introduced to one short story after another; an artist kept in prison, a young protester who dies young, a writer with a photographic memory who’s best friends with vocabulary. With the uniqueness of the stories, subtle humor, touching and biting sarcasm, the film challenges every aspect of the human brain, because that’s what you do when you write not for the sake of writing.

Written and directed by Wes Anderson, the film combines visual aspects of art and artistry. The cast includes seven Oscar winners (Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Benicio Del Toro, Christoph Waltz, Adrien Brody, Anjelica Huston, and Fisher Stevens) and eight Oscar nominees (Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Wes Anderson, Bob Balaban and Owen Wilson). The film captures the very essence of the soul, heartbreak, hardship and the challenging work of journalism. Through little stories, we learn a lot about art, humans and humanity.

“The French Dispatch” is an illustration of the creative power of the mind and rich imagination. Wes Anderson outdoes himself with his tenth feature film by creating a masterpiece. To go deeper into the concept of the film or give you more details about the plot will be like giving you unwanted and unexpected spoilers. And that would be a crime I cannot afford to commit. The film offers a joyful ride into the past. Through the black-and-white shots and colors, it delivers the touch of a master with a taste you will want to try more. Films like this are not made often. It will challenge you, test you, and play with your patience. But worry about nothing, because what you are about to get yourself into is a worthwhile trip you will hope is one-way only, and no coming back.

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