Friday, December 31, 2021

4K Digital Review: Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch


Wes Anderson's tenth film, The French Dispatch, is a love letter to journalists by bringing their words to life. An amazing cast fills the screen. Using the layout of the fictional titular newspaper to tell four stories that transport us to the fictional town of Ennui-sur-Blase in midcentury France. We get to see a tour of the city, a criminally insane genius of an artist, a youth revolt and the abduction of the police commissioner's son. 

Each story celebrates the filmmaking styles of the time. We get scenes in black and white and even the color segments evoke the time period. There are even a few hand drawn animated scenes done in the style of a magazine illustrator of the era. 

As with all Wes Anderson films, the visuals are bold and features and all-star list of actors. Anjelica Huston narrates the film and the ensemble includes Jason Schwartzman, Benicio Del Toro, Adrian Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. 

The release on 4K digital download includes a fine video transfer. The film looks striking and colors are vivid and bold. Audio is in 5.1 surround sound with the score filling the rear channels and dialogue crystal clear from the front channels. Sadly there are no extras included with the digital download, not even a trailer. All of Wes Anderson's films have eventually received a Criterion Collection release so there is hope down the road for supplemental features. 

The French Dispatch is a great film with a wonderful cast, top-notch sets and art direction as well as with all of Wes Anderson's best work, a very funny film. 

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