West Anderson, the famous American film director, did it again with his new movie, the French Dispatch. Released on October 22nd, the cinematic masterpiece shares some of the stories from the last issue of the French Dispatch newspaper, a fictional publication heavily based on the New Yorker. With a stacked cast including Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, and Timothee Chalamet, expect nothing less than spectacular scenes filled with beyond-the-ordinary dialogue and gorgeous imagery. Anderson is known for this style of film, some of his most known pieces being Fantastic Mr.Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs. Warning: spoilers.
In the 20th century, the French Dispatch was an American newspaper published in a fictional French city. The creator and chief editor, Arthur Howitzer Jr., is pronounced dead at the very beginning of the film. His final request is that the paper circulates one final issue to the public before being forever terminated. Five stories from the last issue before his passing are released and explained in detail, not only by the authors but through the scenes themselves.
Story one: The Cycling Reporter by Herbsaint Sazerac follows the daily events of the fictional town, Ennui-sur-Blasé, as the reporter cycles through alleyways and past storefronts. Out of all of the pieces, this one is by far the shortest, but that doesn’t make it bad. It is the perfect introduction story to set the tone for how the rest of the movie will look. In every way, it mirrors a side column on a real newspaper.
Story two: The Concrete Masterpiece by J.K.L. Berensen is a heartfelt story about an inmate with a life sentence that has fallen in love with one of the guards. The prisoner, Moses Bernier, makes a name for himself in the art world after spending most of his sentence painting after art dealer Julian Cadazio found interest in one of Bernier’s pieces. The piece in question is a series of depictions of Bernier’s love for prison guard Simone. Altogether, its scheme is unique in a way where no other director would have thought of this, which is not new for a Wes Anderson film.
Story three: Revisions to a Manifesto by Lucinda Krementz is an up-close and personal account of a student-led revolt that reflects similar events in Paris during 1968. While the imagery of the protests is pleasing to the eyes, the movement led by a young Zeffirelli is considerably dull. The catalyst for it is the youth’s want for the boys to have full access to the girl’s dormitories. This makes this whole story more about the scene itself and not the message around it. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable watch despite the lack of depth.
Story four: The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner by Roebuck Wright is probably the most creative out of all the features in this issue. Here, the writer, Roebuck Wright, is eating dinner with the Police Commissioner, showcasing the feast by the department’s private chef, Lt. Nescaffier. The meal is interrupted when bandits kidnap the Commissioner’s son. Despite this story being quite enjoyable, by this \time, the film seemed to drag on too long. Along with all of the others, a five-minute cut would make the experience much better.
Story five: Obituary by the entire French Dispatch staff is the final piece of not only this issue but for the rest of time. The audience watches the writers reflect on all of their best moments with the late Editor in Chief. It is the perfect piece for the movie’s end, tying the beginning to the end in the best manner possible.