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The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch

Chess revolution, prison art and kidnapping drama. Wes Anderson's quirky journalistic romance is a pure and simply enjoyable film.

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The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson's latest film, revolves around an American magazine of the same name and which has established itself in a fictional French city. In this magazine you can find all sorts of articles and reports: life stories, crime confessions, city guides, food notices, all written with tons of personality. This is the editor's only wish for his journalists and as long as the articles are brought to life, they can in principle write about anything, with everything else being forgiven. In the film, we get to flip through the editorial office's very last issue and it offers everything from tributes to life to sad obituaries.

Like a three-course dinner, Wes Anderson serves delicious stories that are in themselves delicacies on several levels. Four to five films have been squeezed together here to frame the contents of a newspaper and honestly I could have seen four or five more stories in the same style. I was not a fan of The Grand Budapest Hotel as Anderson's uniqueness was not enough for the thin story, but I realised during the second act - where Frances McDormand's lone journalist covers students' political awakening - that I really loved the short film streak and that Anderson's twisted style reinforced their shorter life portraits.

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The French Dispatch is like wandering in Anderson's brain for two hours, which in its labyrinthine mapping of several life stories never gets lost in its own narrator's desire. Of course, it can be scattered with many anecdotes and extensive dialogue, but at the same time it is difficult to tear your eyes away from the richness of detail that Anderson so often offers. It is also difficult not to float away to Alexandre Desplats' poetic tones, not to get caught up in the eccentric love stories, to want to see it again. Those who are in love with Anderson's postcard compositions and extremely distinctive style will in other words feel at home in The French Dispatch, which is just as ambitious and cosy as you've come to expect from the director.

The best part in The French Dispatch's last published issue is probably the crime report, which would actually be a report about a well-known Asian chef and which ends with an animated car chase through Paris. The Tintin-scented sequence shows just how easily Anderson can move between different narrative forms and right now I want nothing more than to see Anderson direct an animated Tintin film. The only thing I would have liked more of was French Connections' other editorial staff, which of course get such whimsical presentations at the beginning of the film, but otherwise this was a really delightful film experience. It is packed with storytelling joy, romance and classic Anderson quirk and will definitely warm you up the rainy autumn climate.

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09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
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The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

Chess revolution, prison art and kidnapping drama. Wes Anderson's quirky journalistic romance is a pure and simply enjoyable film.



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