4.5/10 Since I had only seen the most recent three Wes Anderson films I decided to watch his entire filmography from start to finish before checking out his most recent work. While I definitely appreciate his style of film making and how no one makes films quite like him, Anderson unfortunately falls to his worst impulses for his most recent feature, making “The French Dispatch” easily one of his worst movies. Everything you’ve come to expect from Anderson is there from the sprawling cast to his use of specific color palettes and symmetry to his horizontal camera pans. The movie is three short stories with one or two even shorter stories thrown in near the beginning that only last for a few minutes. As for what works, the main actors with the most screen time do a great job with their limited time and the cinematography is brilliant. The pacing works well with each story never overstaying its welcome. Anderson cuts to animation and other film making styles for brief periods of time and they are well utilized. The score has some strong elements to it and seeing all of the Anderson regulars like Bill Murray and Owen Wilson just to name a couple, are welcome sights. As for what didn’t work, there are several large problems. First of all, since every previous Anderson film has been an hour and a half to a two hour story, he is given time to properly develop the plot and characters. By reducing that time by a third, each story feels a bit rushed and many characters have nothing to do. Speaking of which, as Anderson’s casts have grown larger, he isn’t able to develop 90% of them and so many actors are essentially given glorified cameos. One example in this movie is Christoph Waltz, who I was excited to see act in his first Anderson movie when I saw the trailer, only to be greatly disappointed that he is in the movie for maybe two minutes and his character was completely pointless. If you would have cut his character out, the movie and plot wouldn’t have changed at all. Anderson needs to get back to mid-sized casts. You can have a decent amount of characters if you develop them all but the larger his casts have gotten, the less we get to know or care about each individual character. This also felt like Anderson’s most pretentious movie to date. While some of his other films have had scenes that felt pretentious, this entire movie is his first to feel that way from start to finish. His best film was also the last live action one he made, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and while that film had heart, style and a well utilized cast, this just feels pretentious and snooty. Finally, instead of having his short stories get better as the movie goes on, he begins with the best story and each story gets worse as they go along. So while I would have left the second story in the middle, switching the first and last stories would have benefitted the movie’s trajectory. While regular composer Alexandre Desplat has a few solid tracks, he has done much better work in his past few Anderson collaborations, making this one feel a little underwhelming in comparison. In the end too many characters with the pretentious cloud hanging over (even the full title, “The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun” is pretentious) stories that go by too quickly makes this the weakest Anderson movie in well over a decade.

#ThroughRosenthalerColoredGlasses / #RenaissanceManifesto / #HotOffTheChess / #AdieuIsTheWarmestColor / #MidFightInParis / #TheReadDontDie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s