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Senior Citizen Kane: The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson is at the top of his game with this dazzling, breathlessly inventive and irrepressibly witty tribute to the New Yorker magazine and its writers. Reunited with many of his ensemble troupe as well as some new faces, Anderson’s latest doesn’t disappoint – it is a feast for the eyes and a whip-smart comic delight.

“…an absolute treat crammed full exquisite detail”

The French Dispatch is a high-brow magazine based in the imagined Gallic town of Blasé-sur-Ennui, which has reached its end. Its founder (Bill Murray) has died, and his beloved creation looks set to shut down operations. In doing so, its staff reflect nostalgically on the publication’s halcyon days, when the writers were as celebrated as the subjects they covered. There’s the art critic (Tilda Swinton) who regales with the story of a jailed painter’s (Benicio Del Toro) obsession with his muse (Léa Seydoux); a political correspondent (Frances McDormand) whose ‘current affairs’ once included a young insurgent (Timothée Chalamet) during a student protest; and the lofty food critic (Jeffrey Wright) who becomes quite the pot-au-feu when he finds himself caught up in a kidnapping plot. 

Along with his trademark shooting style – meticulously conceived symmetrical compositions – there’s deft use of aspect ratio and seamless black and white-to-colour shifts.  Carried along by regular collaborator Alexandre Desplat’s wonderful score, The French Dispatch is an absolute treat crammed full exquisite detail; it might just need a second viewing.

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