If you’ve found yourself at a movie theater lately, or have any understanding of current pop culture, you’ve heard of Timothée Chalamet. While his major Hollywood debut in “Call Me By Your Name” was almost three years ago, Chalamet’s filmography is expanding faster than ever. These days, I can’t open a social media app without scrolling past his on-set selfies and press junket interviews. His ever presence in my daily activities leads me to believe that we, as a society, are in the midst of a Timothée Takeover. While I’m not immune to his charming smile and curly locks, I refuse to praise Chalamet for simply appearing on a screen. As an avid filmgoer, sci-fi geek, and Wes Anderson enthusiast, I felt it necessary to give my two cents on Timothée’s most recent films: “Dune” and “The French Dispatch.”
While I’m a fan of Chalamet’s previous work, I was cautiously optimistic for his interpretation of Paul in the 2021 retelling of “Dune” as I’d never seen Chalamet take on a sci-fi or fantasy role. While his knack for dramas is undeniable, I couldn’t help but be skeptical of his casting in “Dune.” Still, I was first to buy the popcorn the minute “Dune” hit the theaters on Oct. 22, 2021.
Let me preface with this: “Dune” is not for everyone. For those of you who swooned for Laurie in Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” or if you dream of a bassist boyfriend like Kyle in “Ladybird,” understand that “Dune” is unlike any of Chalamet’s previous roles. This is a lengthy film, sitting at 2 hours and 35 minutes, and demands attention to detail from its viewers. It is an interpretation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, “Dune,” so to fully understand the story, you may want to check out the book first. If these qualities line up with your personal film preferences, then “Dune” may be for you!
Chalamet’s performance in “Dune” was nothing short of remarkable. His growth as an actor is evident in his performance as Paul, and this role has displayed an element of Chalamet’s talent that has yet to hit the big screen. His ability to convey psychological reactions to invisible realities created an unforgettable performance, such as his experiences with the ‘voice’ and reactions to the agony box. His effortless depiction of Paul was a pleasure to watch, and Chalamet added a youthful melancholy to the dynamic of “Dune.”
Next up on Timothée’s release schedule was Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch.” This film is only available for viewing at Film Streams, Aksarben Cinema, and ACX Cinema, unlike “Dune,” which is playing at Marcus theaters, too. It’s official release was also Oct. 22, 2021, and will only be shown in Omaha through Dec. 2. “The French Dispatch” is 1 hour and 48 minutes of whimsical storytelling and pastel visuals. It is organized into three stories from the fictional newspaper “The French Dispatch,” one of which is starring Timothée Chalamet.
What I found captivating about “The French Dispatch” was its use of alternative mediums. There is never a dull moment in Wes Anderson’s most recent film, as it’s unconventional means of storytelling create a visual adventure. I was especially drawn to the occasional use of animation throughout the film, which is reminiscent of the art style of “The New Yorker” covers. Anderson also switches between French and English and black and white and color, which keeps viewers interested throughout the film.
In “The French Dispatch,” Timothée Chalamet takes on the role of Zeffirelli, the student revolutionary and leader of the Chessboard Revolution. His ambition (and occasional arrogance) paint a portrait of youthful rebellion and untapped potential. Chalamet’s performance in “The French Dispatch,” was more natural than that of “Dune,” and while brief in the film’s entirety, leaves a lasting impression on Anderson’s audience.
Upon viewing “Dune” and “The French Dispatch,” I believe we are entering an exciting phase of Timothée Chalamet’s career. With each passing film he continues to hone his skills, and his growth as an actor is evident in his recent work. I expect decades of success in Chalamet’s future, and no foreseeable end to the Timothée Takeover. I look forward to more of his films to come, and more reasons to frequent the movie theater.