The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson [8/10]

Wes Anderson’s movies, whimsical and quirky, infuriate some and delight others. I am one of the latter, and “The French Dispatch” is a quintessential example of his vision and craftsmanship, and, for a certain audience, a hoot to boot. The movie is a doting homage to The New Yorker magazine, presented as a Kansan newspaper’s offshoot magazine set in a fictional French (extremely French) town, the storyline being three magazine articles (each so emblematic of a New Yorker article), each presented (in various forms) by one of the magazine’s eccentric stable of writers. A prison-bound homicidal abstract painter, a moody 1968 demonstrator, a police chef dealing with a kidnapping … you get the picture. Nothing makes any sense plotwise, except as the cogs producing a magazine issue under the relentlessly editing gaze of its founder (played perfectly by Bill Murray). A cast of luminaries (Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Adrian Brody, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, plus many more) hams up the stories with po-faced solemnity. Unlike his other films, there is nothing overtly funny, except every moment is deliciously amusing. Anderson clearly obsesses over every frame, every object, every nostalgic aspect. I loved The French Dispatch. You might also.

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