The French Dispatch

Director: Wes Anderson
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 2.5

Anderson's "ode to journalism" is structured a little like a copy of The New Yorker: it's bookended with an obituary for the editor of The French Dispatch, Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray), and then tells three separate stories: the first is about incarcerated artist Moses Rosenthaler (Benicio del Toro, looking like Claude Monet) who falls in love with prison guard Simone (Léa Seydoux), the second has journalist Lucinda (Frances McDormand) covering young revolutionary Zeffirelli (Timothée Chalamet) in late 60's Paris and the final part revolves around James Baldwin-esque Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey Wright) looking into the kidnapping of the son of a police chief (Mathieu Amalric).  While I appreciate his meticulous attention to detail and style (not to mention his apparent appreciation for the written word in an era of "Fake News") this is entirely too overstuffed and underdeveloped story-wise (it should have been a series on Apple TV): it never lingers long enough on any one character to learn much about any of them and I don't think the pieces congeal the way wants them to.  It might have worked better had it focused on the Murray character holding it all together, which would have made his passing more poignant (as opposed to "quirky").