“The French Dispatch” is another colorful Wes Anderson piece


Photo via Searchlight Pictures

Wes Anderson is known for his unique and colorful films. The way he directs his projects requires rewatch after rewatch to completely grasp Anderson’s reasoning behind every directing decision. His most recent film, “The French Dispatch” follows his typical speed and does not allow viewers to look away.

Released Oct. 22, the film is perfectly described as “a love letter to journalists.” Based on the history of “The New Yorker ” magazine, it tells the story of the publication “The French Dispatch,” an American newspaper being written in France. The editor-in-chief and founder of the newspaper, Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray), is being honored and remembered in the film as they write his memoir together as a staff. The film features three stories that the publication had released over the years as a summary of Howitzer’s time running the publication to showcase how he ran the newspaper and how likeable he was. 

After seeing “Dune” a few days prior, I was excited to see another 2021 movie with Timothee Chalamet. Of course, many other well-known actors were featured whom I was excited to see – Murray, Owen Wilson, and there was even a small Saoirse Ronan feature which I was not expecting. Being filled with familiar actors probably had an impact on why I was entertained the entire length of the film. 

The best way to describe this film is just gorgeous. Anderson’s use of color and obscure angles transforms the film, as it does in his other famous pieces. Scenes would convert from full of saturated color to complete black and white as a character made a decision or had a change of thought. Watching those details made me feel so much more invested in the film, like I was a reporter for “The French Dispatch” living in France.

Photo via Searchlight Pictures

Anderson is also known for his comedic output on somewhat dark topics. “The French Dispatch” definitely showcased the comedic side of his directing, but was not necessarily as unsettling as his other films. I was relatively calm throughout the film because of its soothing cinematography, and the occasional joke or two helped me get past the few slightly uncomfortable topics, such as the first showcased story discussing the murder of multiple men. 

The film also discusses issues of journalistic integrity. As an editor for my high school paper, I found it intriguing to see the lengths the featured journalists went to to create a thorough story in the real world, especially in a country foreign to them. As someone who romanticizes the idea of living in France, but would be too scared to actually take action to move there, I was so interested in seeing how Americans adapt to fit into the new setting of the publication.  

Not even two hours long, I was absolutely intrigued through the entire length of the movie. Although some scenes might have felt slow to most, I was entranced by the details and decisions Anderson made. If you appreciate the little details in cinematography, you too will be obsessed with this movie. And even if you typically don’t, the three action-filled stories showcased with hints of comedy are sure to catch your attention.