Theatrical Reviews

The French Dispatch Review

The French Dispatch 1

Walt Disney Pictures   

What’s It About?
The editor of an American newspaper in a fictional French city dies, and the staff put out one final issue.   

Who’s In It?
Who isn’t? Benicio Del Toto, Lea Seydoux, Timothy Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Elisabeth Moss, Saoirse Ronan and more besides.   

Director: Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr Fox & The Grand Budapest Hotel.   

Audiences Expect:
Wes Anderson’s love letter to journalism is indeed set out like a magazine with an obituary, and then three features. 
The obituary which focuses on Bill Murray’s character and his staff is fun but too short, while the three features vary in quality. 
The pick of these stories features prisoner and artist Benicio Del Toro and his muse, prison guard Lea Seydoux, while the third storyline involving Jeffrey Wright’s food connoisseur and writer focuses on a kidnap plot involving Matthieu Amalric’s son. Over-kookiness or perhaps lockdown also sees the film descend into animated high jinx. 
It is the second film, however, which is perhaps the biggest exercise in self-aggrandizement and over-indulgence, featuring writer Frances McDormand and her affair with radical youngster Timothee Chalamet. With too many cast members and too whimsical and disparate a story, the overarching feeling is one of dissatisfaction and disappointment given the tools at Anderson’s disposal.     

In A Nutshell:
A typically incredible cast is wasted in this mess of a story line in what may be the most Wes Anderson movie of all, with a side serving of whimsy.

The cast

The mess of a storyline
Too whimsical

Certificate: 15