Never has a Wes Anderson movie been so, well, Wes Anderson-y.
“The French Dispatch” won’t let down Anderson’s fans. Journalists and readers of “The New Yorker Magazine” will find Anderson’s latest – if not his greatest, a treat. It’s full of the quirky, droll characters and exquisite, highly detailed settings viewers embrace in his movies.
The movie is really an anthology of four stories – magazine articles, in fact – from a literary magazine called, of course, “The French Dispatch.”
Bill Murray is delightful as the editor, who has the motto ‘No Crying” over the door of his office. He tells his writers to “try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose.”
The ensemble is a sort of “best of” from Anderson’s previous films. Other stars include Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton. Welcome additions include Jeffrey Wright and Timothée Chalamet.
Swinton is wonderful as a lecturer who tells the story of a murderer (Benicio del Toro) who finds his muse in a correctional officer (Lea Seydoux) who poses unclothed for his paintings. Adrien Brody plays an art dealer who encourages his partners (Henry Winkler and Bob Balaban) that the murderer is a genius.
There’s an absolutely wacky story that involves food and a kidnapping.
Everyone who loves Anderson – yep, I’m part of his fan club – talks about the details in his set designs. This may be his most highly detailed film yet, from the walls of books to the streets of a city and the exquisite scenes involved in the kidnapping. It’s impossible to catch all the details the first time around, which may be one reason why Anderson’s fans generally watch his films more than once.
This veteran journalist loved seeing typewriters, wooden desks in a newsroom where pencils are part of the environment.
“The French Dispatch” isn’t for everyone. It’s for audiences who enjoy “The New Yorker,” oddball characters and situations, French New Wave cinema, and a love for journalism. And James Thurber and E. B. White.
It’s a small demographic, but it’s one that will greet this film with a “Oui!”
Rated: R for foul language, violence and nudity.
Running time: One hour and 47 minutes.
At Cinemark, Davenport.