Wes Anderson is back with another ensemble that consists of some of the biggest names in Hollywood with The French Dispatch, a quirky film that consists of various vignettes told in the most Wes Anderson way possible. 

A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional twentieth century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in "The French Dispatch Magazine".
If you've seen a Wes Anderson film before it could be argued that you've already seen The French Dispatch because Anderson is up to all his usual tricks here. It's very much a film that feels most like The Grand Budapest Hotel however, rather sadly, this is someway from that golden standard. 

The writing is entertaining enough, presented in sections of the titular magazine but they don't have enough about them to be drawn out as long as they are. Also, the film peaks early on with the first vignette featuring Adrien Brody and Benicio del Toro set inside a prison. It's more funny and charming than the other vignettes, making the rest of them a bit of a chore to sit through. 

As always with his films, The French Dispatch is immaculately shot, Robert Yeoman making the camera move so elegantly through Anderson's creation and the black and white presentation offering a vintage nature to the film, the production design stunningly intricate in its detail. Alexandre Desplat's score is simply sublime throughout, both playful and emotive when it needs to be. 
Anderson's films always have a cast to hand that make them insanely watchable and The French Dispatch is no different. Each vignette has its standouts, Adrien Brody the best of the first, Timothee Chalamet the second while Jeffrey Wright just about steals the whole film from others in the third. It's a real ensemble effort and there isn't much fault amongst them all. 

My major problem with The French Dispatch is that it all feels been there done that from Wes Anderson. If you're going to make a film very similar to one that came before you have to do something to make it outshine the other and in the case of this up against The Grand Budapest Hotel, there's just no contest. 

Verdict: ½


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