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THE FRENCH DISPATCH a Lot of Fun

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

If you like the works of Writer/Director Wes Anderson, you’ll love The French Dispatch a quirky, homage to writer’s everywhere. Beyond the reasons for writing the script, there is a lot of fun in store as he treats his audience to a three act play that captivates as it gets played out by an amazing cast. For those who are not into dead pan comedy, creative cinematography, make-up, sets and a lot of old fashioned storytelling, it may be a bit too much whimsy. But, hang in there as much like his The Grand Budapest Hotel that took 4 Oscars and a Golden Globe, this Wes Anderson film is as good for all the same reasons.

In an attempt to write and epitaph to their deceased Founder and Editor of The French Dispatch Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Bill Murray), a number of employees are quickly gathered and in a three part story we find out what makes The French Dispatch tick. Among the group is Legal Advisor (Griffin Dunn), two editors Alumna (Elizabeth Moss) and (Fisher Stevens), and a creative cartoonist Hermes Jones (Jason Schwartzman).

(From L-R): Wally Wolodarsky, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The film gets a bit chaotic and very imaginative from here to the finale with several lead actors participating in each part. The art critic for The French Dispatch, played by Tilda Swinton, lectures on Moses Rosenthaler (Benicio Del Toro), a sexually disturbed psychopath artist who is in jail. He paints nudes and his portraits of prison guard Simone (played in the buff by Léa Seydoux) are garnering exorbitantly high prices.

Part two tells the story through the words of Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand). It involves the French uprising of its students who want freedom. And the third a culinary writer Roebuck Wright (played by Jeffery Wright) tells the story of a kidnapping that goes very wrong.

THE FRENCH DISPATCH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

As usual Wes Anderson does not disappoint with his very unusual story presenting a screwy laugher that makes his fans wanting more. Two years in the making as Covid-19 halted the production in 2020, really did no harm as the wait was well worth it. A fan of his work, I plan to see the film again just to see what I may have missed.

The French Dispatch has been rated R by the MPAA for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language. There is also some violence and smoking. For the followers of Wes Anderson films, this movie is a must see. For newcomers, just go with the movie for its chaotic tongue in cheek comedy and you enjoy. (4 out of 5 stars for fans, 3 out of 5 stars for newbies)

(From L-R): Tilda Swinton, Lois Smith, Adrien Brody, Henry Winkler and Bob Balaban in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Christoph Waltz, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Elizabeth Moss, Adrien Brody, Griffin Dunn, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park,
Directed and screenplay written by: Wes Anderson
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
MPAA Rating: R for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Opening Date: October 29, 2021
Distributed by: Searchlight Pictures
Released in: Theaters

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