judahdjackson’s review published on Letterboxd:
For a very anticipated film (with the strong aesthetic and incredibly talented cast ensemble) I was ultimately underwhelmed.
I know you can never have it all, but this film was lacking in many places. The acting was strong, the cinematography was pleasant, but the concept and story that this film tries to sell is stylistic at best, and achingly confusing at worst.
It is always a worry when you get to the end of a film and you can neither remember half of it, nor decipher any discernible applicable message.
The costuming and set design is always interesting in Wes Anderson films, and I appreciate his dedication to a cinematic style (despite many calls from critics for him to try something new), and I found certain “sections” entertaining and fascinating but I found myself looking at my watch waiting for the film to end.
The French Dispatch seemed quite frankly a film for a specific type of pretentious viewer who reads very quirky magazines, and thinks that they understand over complicated dialogue; for an everyday lover of cinema, or just any normal person the whole film would be a blur or complexity for its own sake.
As a side note, I find that aspect ratios and colour grading are often not utilised in modern films like how The French Dispatch did, but I found it rather confusing and distracting instead of a technique that added to the understanding of the story.