‘The French Dispatch’ Trailer Reveals Wes Anderson’s Latest Predictably Quirky Story

By this point, Wes Anderson is pretty much his own genre. There’s no doubt that Anderson is the definition of an auteur, and yet his films in the past decade have become increasingly predictable. Although it’s been six years since his last live-action film was released (2014’s Oscar-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel), we’re finally getting a look at Anderson’s latest movie, The French Dispatch. The film transports the audience (and every Wes Anderson regular) to Twentieth Century Fox. Oops, we meant 20th century France. Unsurprisingly, this film looks to be another increasingly (and predictably) quirky tale of a group of eccentric characters that are thrust into increasingly mundane situations. It looks like any other Wes Anderson film, one that (while extremely well crafted) feels like the equivalent of telling the same joke over and over again to diminishing returns.

What constitutes a Wes Anderson film? In terms of the story, it’s most likely an ensemble picture about an obsessive main character who is either looking for a coveted item that has been lost or is running away from someone or something. Sometimes, it’s both. Dialogue is often presented as witty, yet dry, repartee. Visually speaking, he prefers to present scenes from a proscenium perspective using wide-angle lenses, symmetrical framing, and minimal linear camera movement (Anderson uses his first circular dolly track in this trailer, so we guess that’s progress). Similarly, Anderson’s production design often utilizes heavy servings of Houndstooth fabric patterns and monochromatic color palates. Throw in a dash of set dressing that heavily relies on the use of pointless trinkets, and you have a nice encapsulation of what constitutes the Wes Anderson aesthetic.

Don’t get us wrong; we love Wes Anderson’s style. He’s the best as what he does, which is why he’s his own genre at this point. But if any other director were to use the same storytelling formula over and over again for every single movie they’ve made, that person would be chastised for being uninspired and unoriginal, not to mention failing to take any big risks. In this respect, the first trailer for The French Dispatch feels like it’s just going through the motions.

Although the story for The French Dispatch seems to be leaning into anthology territory, there’s something to be said for the thematic potential of Anderson exploring the current state of journalism through a 20th-century lens. Regardless of this, there’s nothing about this movie that will change people’s pre-established opinions about the eclectic director’s work; you’ll either love or hate his movies. While we wait to see if Anderson can somehow add something new to the mix this time around, here are some quirky GIFs from the first trailer for The French Dispatch.

Cover Photo: Searchlight Pictures

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