The French Dispatch

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Wes Anderson’s tribute to The New Yorker (dedicated to a swathe of its golden-era writers in the end credits) is a gloriously cheerful celebration of that magazine, France, erudition, intellectualism and writing. It’s as Wes Anderson-y as it gets, tripling down on the production design, cinematography, performance and sonic aesthetic that is often imitated but is his and his alone.

If you like his vibe, The New Yorker and France, you’ll almost certainly love this. It’s astonishingly crafted, full of exquisite detail, and very, very funny. Within his oeuvre I’d place it alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel, as an example of him working full-tilt within his own style, with clearly hefty resources.

There are so many sets, so many jokes, and so many movie stars, both American and French; a fun running gag is that some of the French ones play American and vice-versa. Narratively it’s a trifle, being composed of three stories enveloped in, essentially, a framing device (the founding editor of an English-language magazine based in France passes away); but who has ever come to Anderson for the story? You come for the style, and that’s never been better – or more pronounced – than it is here.

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