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The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch

USA 2021 - with Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Owen Wilson ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:The French Dispatch
Direction:Wes Anderson
Cinema release:21.10.2021
Production country:USA 2021
Running time:Approx. 107 min.
Rated:Age 12+

Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray), publisher of "The French Dispatch" magazine based in the French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé, is dead. And with him, the magazine will die. The final issue is supposed to be an obituary for the eccentric publisher. So let's leaf through the final issue of "The French Dispatch" together and discover there, in addition to small articles about the town, the story of a criminal painter who created quite great art from prison. Or an extraordinary love story during a student revolt. And we risk a peek into the police chief's private dining room for a tale of drugs, kidnapping and upscale cuisine.

The very first shot makes it clear: "The French Dispatch" is a typical Wes Anderson film. His very particular signature can be felt in every moment of this episodic film. Both in the acting of his illustrious ensemble, mostly performed with quite petrified facial expressions, and in the very special imagery, where every shot resembles a playful painting with hundreds of small details, Anderson's style is recognizable. In this film, he pushes that to perfection, though it's not just a strength of the quirky comedy. It's also a weakness, as Anderson repeatedly sacrifices heart and charm for the lofty artistic ambitions of his style.

There's no question that the film is a feast for the eyes. And the humor is so wonderfully quirky that - if you like Anderson's earlier films - you can laugh heartily over and over again. But it lacks that special something that made "Moonrise Kingdom" or "Grand Budapest Hotel" so enchanting. On the one hand, this is certainly due to the fact that Anderson seems to lose himself too much in his attention to detail, but on the other hand, it is also due to the episodic nature of the story. For, as with a real magazine, the film essays are not all equally interesting. The last story in particular has some very plodding moments and offers mostly upscale boredom. After a very strong beginning, the film runs out of steam in the last twenty minutes, which even the great imagery then can't help over.

Now you may argue that even a slightly weaker Wes Anderson film is still better than so many other works currently hitting theaters. While that may be true, as a huge fan of his earlier films, it can't take away my fear that his style has slowly worn thin and that Anderson needs to reinvent himself in some way to avoid becoming a carbon copy of himself and continue to enrich cinema with special films and his truly wonderful sense of humor. For the first 80 minutes of "The French Dispatch" there is clearly one: Absolutely worth seeing, for the rest a "still okay, but still only worth seeing with cutbacks"!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "The French Dispatch (USA 2021)"
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