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Mr Wilson’s Movie Review: The French Dispatch

Mr Wilson’s Movie Review: The French Dispatch

My Buddy Mr J. Christopher Wilson is reviewing some movies.  He has agreed for us to post his reviews here.

“The French Dispatch” is as difficult to describe as is experimental jazz. It’s really something that must be experienced to understand. It must be understood that this newest Wes Anderson film is an art house film. It is not easily digestible for the more artsy minded let alone the mass movie-going crowd.

Do you remember the long standing show “CBS Sunday Morning” with Charles Kuralt and then followed by Charles Osgood? “The French Dispatch” is a sort of ultra-art version of that. It’s not the typical Sunday morning political show. It’s not the evening news, and it’s certainly not the 24-hour cable news. “CBS Sunday Morning” is something very different, very poised, very purposeful and selective. “The French Dispatch” is like that, but it’s, as the kids say, extra.

I watched it with my wife and friend and we all decided it needed 2-3 watches to grasp the entirety of the film and the message-s. Message-s, that is to emphasize the plurality of the film. It’s onion-y, if you’ll pardon the Shrekism. Dispatch is deep, dense, nuanced, and crafted. Almost over-crafted. Almost.

“The French Dispatch” is about a periodical, a magazine of the same name, and the three writers and editor-publisher therein. Each writes an artistic story about the world, in very eclectic and stylized ways. From every aspect, “The French Dispatch” conceives every detail beforehand. I can imagine the storyboards being overwhelming. The composition of the shots, the angles, the shadows and the colors or lack thereof, are conceived with intention and purpose. The details of the costumes and the musical score are Tarantinoesque in their obsessive focus. This film is detail.

“The French Dispatch” is a film for film lovers, film creators, film critics, and film deconstructionists. If it were a painting, it would hang beautifully in the Crystal Bridges in an art museum for all to appreciate and dissect.

Somehow hanging the movie poster along side the mostly-1980s posters I have in my movie room would seem almost disrespectful to the artistic nature of the film. It’d be like hanging a limited edition Michael Parks lithograph next to “The Empire Strikes Back.” Empire hangs framed—and not in a cheap, dorm room plastic frame, but I’m an expensive plastic frame—in my dungeon where we watch movies and enjoy our nerdom.

Dispatch is something else entirely. To watch “The French Dispatch” is to put on one’s most academic of hats, our most literary and artist spectacles, and have a notebook nearby. It is art that is meant to be dissected and interpreted.

It is Oscar-worthy. The script, the dialogue, is as stunning and poetic as film comes. The cast is superb and their performances, albeit eccentric and eclectic as only Wes Anderson can direct, were beautiful. The cinematography is like no other and deserves it’s nomination.

Wes Anderson is known for his off-beat style, which is likely inaccessible and indiscernible to many. “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Grand Buddaest Hotel,” and “Rushmore,” are some of his best known and new comers to Anderson’s work would be smart to try those out first before delving into “The French Dispatch.”

Grade: A
Available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime
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