Tuesday, September 27, 2022

‘The French Dispatch’ review: Star-studded cast delivers in Wes Anderson’s elegant magazine tribute

Film Review

Wes Anderson’s film is recognizable from the first seconds; sitting down at one of them, you feel as if you noticed a friend in the crowd – a rare dream these days – and realized how much you missed them. His latest film, The French Dispatch, is similar to many of Anderson’s previous films: meticulously composed footage with an actor in the center; softly faded colors (although much of his film is skillfully shot in black and white or occasionally in playful animation); familiar line-up of players; the camera lingers on objects of nostalgia, such as, in this case, typewriters. But Anderson doesn’t just rely on his established visual language here; he plays with something new – the film equivalent of a magazine, as a way to pay tribute.

In fact, the French Mailing List is the middle of the twentieth anniversary.th– the century-old issue of The New Yorker magazine, if it came out in a small French town and all the participants were colorful eccentric. It doesn’t really have a plot, just a central event: Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray), editor of The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (a Sunday magazine published overseas), has died and the staff are about to write an obituary. Four largely unrelated stories unfold from the pages of the magazine: the story of a journey led by Owen Wilson in a beret; the story of the mad artist / convict (Benicio Del Toro) that is talked about in the art world; an account of a student strike in France led by two appropriately named students Zeffirelli (Timothy Chalamet, hair accentuated his speech) and Juliet (Lina Khudri); and a kind of Anderson French crime drama dictated by legendary writer Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey Wright), which was meant to be a portrait of a famous chef (Stephen Park) but comes out as something completely different.


It all unfolds in a charmingly calm manner, performed by a troupe of actors who seem to be having fun. (This is a testament to Anderson’s respect among the actors that so many respected names are present here in tiny pieces; watch closely for Sears Ronan, Elisabeth Moss and Christoph Waltz, to name just three.) While it is difficult to pick the outstanding one, I will highlight Tilda Swinton, whose character in the J.C.L. Berenson is a delightfully emotional type who utters all his words as if he were ripping them off with his teeth.

And Murray, 23 years after his graceful twist on Anderson’s Rushmore, presents yet another quiet gem here, being a low-key editor in an office full of writers painted in different shades of divas. (There is someone who never writes anything, but nevertheless “wandered the corridors for three decades,” as we are told.) Howitzer, like all great editors, just wants the text to be as good as possible: “Try to make it sound. as if you wrote it so on purpose. ”This is excellent (excellent) advice from his brand. His office is finished in a bright yellow Ticonderoga pencil; his presence is restrained. In one scene with the writer Lucinda Kremenz (Frances McDormand, dry perfection as always), he just reads silently, immersed in what she has created.

The French Mailing List is an elegant ode to good writing and those who quietly stand behind the words.

‘The French Dispatch’ ★★★ ½ (out of four)

With Bill Murray, Timothy Chalamet, Benicio Del Toro, Francis McDormand, Stephen Park, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Mathieu Amalric, Adrienne Brody, Owen Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Lina Hudry, Saoirse Ronanet, Alice Christ Wahlau. Directed by Wes Anderson and written by Anderson, Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness and Jason Schwartzman. 148 minutes. R rating for nudity, some sexual references and expressions. Opens on 22 October in several theaters.

Nation World News Desk
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