The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch ★★★★

Another entertaining motion picture from my man Ol’ Wes, utilizing the anthology format to bring together three tales that would not have supported an entire movie running length under the umbrella of a thinly veiled homage to The New Yorker. Wes’ style is as evident throughout as anything else, but since he tells stories in which his style works, his style works here - the usual neat center framing and fussy mise en scene and wry melancholy and keenly arch wit are used to good effect here, if maybe not as well as in his real A+ flicks. I think I preferred the artist profile bit, as it has the funniest lines and the most well-developed story (along with the highly amusing “hold that pose” frozen moments), and Del Toro’s underplayed comedic performance once again shows how well Anderson gets people to buy in to his style; that said, it’s Jeffrey Wright’s take on James Baldwin that I liked the most, his big sad eyes fondly looking back on one hell of a story as he monologues his way into our hearts. Anderson’s repertory grows that much more with every picture, as it seems pretty obvious the people he casts loves working with him, and I smiled every time I saw someone making a return appearance if even for a few lines; I especially loved Lea Seydoux getting a meaty role and really making the most of it. I don’t really see this as any sort of major statements whatever, but I enjoyed myself like I have in any Anderson movie and I laughed out loud several times, which I don’t do much in comedies anymore. Honestly a bit of an upset Anderson never made a fully cel-animated movie before, but then he’s still got plenty of time, one assumes. Anne, you would’ve really loved this.

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