Three years after Isle of Dogs , director Wes Anderson is (finally) back with a tenth 5-star feature film. Presented in competition at Cannes last July, The French Dispatch is loosely inspired by The New Yorker newspaper and its emblematic protagonists. It is also a nod to French cinema. The excitement is at its height: will this new opus live up to the masterful Grand Budapest Hotel ? Reply.
A prodigiously barred pitch
On the death of its benevolent editor-in-chief (the brilliant Bill Murray ), the entire team of The French Dispatch - an American newspaper based in the fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé - gathered to pay homage to him through a last issue. And there surprise, the film suddenly takes the form of four short films, each relating a tasty article on the front page of this final publication!
Among the headlines? Sazerac's travel diary signed by the bicycle reporter ( Owen Wilson ) who invites readers (and spectators) through the shady neighborhoods of the fictional town of Ennui-sur-Blasé. Or The Concrete Masterpiece , a report by a crazy art critic ( Tilda Swinton) on a psychopathic painter ( Benicio del Toro ), his double-faced muse ( Léa Seydoux ) and his self-proclaimed gallery owner ( Adrien Brody ).
The following short stories feature Timothée Chalamet in the role of an activist at the head of a student movement, May 68 style. And Mathieu Amalric as a police commissioner whose son was kidnapped by a gang of thugs led by Edward Norton !
Christoph Waltz , Elisabeth Moss and Franco-Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri complete this cast worthy of the Walk of Fame, gathered in Angoulême for the shooting.
Hit or miss ?
With The French Dispatch , Wes Anderson shines more than ever for his fantasy, his originality and his independence of mind. The American filmmaker definitely does nothing like the others, imposing his own codes on the film.
We find of course his sense of the image, his obsession for symmetry, his passion for the sepia filter, his absurd humor, his characters with a whimsical character, but he goes even further. The unclassifiable director allows himself to divide his film into four sequences, goes from color to black and white and vice versa, and even switches to animation. A total and absolute freedom, which will delight some and risk disconcerting others. Your turn to judge.
The French Dispatch , in theaters October 27.
Also discover our opinion on Eiffel, the crazy love story with Romain Duris and Emma Mackey