Wes Anderson’s French Dispatch Cannes Review

Wes Anderson’s latest flick ‘French Dispatch’ was screened to the jury and public at the 74th Cannes Film Festival on the night if the 12th of July. The screening followed a nine-minute long standing ovation but was it really warranted?

The French Dispatch is an exceptional film and appears to be an art for art sake – in a good way. The film is an eptiomises the quintessential Anderson style – you get the attention to detail when it comes to set design and lighting, a quirky storyline and even parts told in illustrations as a nod to Anderson’s critically acclaimed ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’.

Tilda Swinton and Timothée Chalamet © Day Night TV

Tilda Swinton and Timothée Chalamet © Day Night TV

The ‘French Dispatch’ however, it would seem hasn’t received such warm welcome from critics. At least according to ScreenDaily and Liberacion film critics. And I would agree.

At the opening of the film we are told what to expect – an obituary, four articles and an epilogue. And, sure enough, the film has opened with an obituary of an Editor In Chief Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray) of a Kansas publication ‘French Dispatch’ whose untimely passing has sent his editors and reporters into a shock. Not least because the editor’s will XX was to cease the publication of the ‘French Dispatch’ after his passing. Thus, making how own obituary also the obituary of the publication.

The viewer then invited to follow features of the last issue of the magazine and meet the journalists and reporters who contributed to the articles.

Without going into too many details, each article is narrated by its author and accompanied by quirky, visually sublime Anderson’s extravaganza. Each feature – taking over ten pages in the printed copy of French Dispatch – is saturated with detailed imagery, authors personal history, facts, and fiction to a point where following the overall story and each individual chapter becomes a behemoth of a task.

With brilliant performances from Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Leah Seydoux, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Christoph Waltz, Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, Liev Schriber, among others, ‘French Dispatch’ is the latest who is who of Hollywood and beyond. All characters’ stories multilayered and complicated, it feels like Anderson tried and succeeded in packing into one film more than is humanly digestable.



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