The French Dispatch is Wes Anderson's tenth feature film.
This means, even before the lights go down in the theater, you know two things about it already, and for certain:
Thing One: It will be meticulously, painstakingly constructed. A rigorous attention to detail and an exacting eye for a highly defined personal aesthetic will come baked into its every frame, from the set design to the cinematography to its color palette(s) to its dialogue to its performances. Also,
Thing Two: It's never gonna let you forget about Thing One. Anderson's films are all about artifice, about the theater of it all. He wants us to remain fully aware that we are watching his movies, to make us complicit in the act of observing. Know, for example, that The French Dispatch contains a sequence that shifts to animation to dramatize a high-speed chase, and another that transforms one character's memory into a literal theatrical production. The film employs several freeze-framed tableaux of crowd scenes for us to admire, and as Anderson's camera pans sloooowly across them, he wants us to notice that he's not employing a photographic technique—he's simply asked his actors to hold stock-still, unblinking. (They mostly do.)
He massages his dialogue into a near-musical cadence. His actors adopt his signature affectless, deadpan style of delivery.