It’s hard to believe a skinny, small man from Houston, with long hair, tucked behind his ears and an impish smile playing on his lips, has been a cult figure in American cinema for over two decades now.

Wes Anderson is no longer an unheard-of auteur, but well on the way to becoming one of the most acclaimed and distinctive voices in film ever. 

Offering a unique sense of style combined with an incredible palette of colours, best envisaged in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom, you know immediately when you are watching an Anderson movie due to the pastel pinks and garish greens. 

His off-kilter brand of comedy is a constant of his work, from Rushmore to The Darjeeling Limited providing subtle, quirky humour that can be so hard to get right. 

Anderson also straddles both animated and live-action films, with his stop motion releases of 2009’s Fantastic Mr Fox and 2018’s Isle of Dogs obviously labours of love. 

Isle of Dogs (Photo: Fox Searchlight)
Isle of Dogs (Photo: Fox Searchlight)

One of his many strengths lies in his reoccurring players, where he has acquired a trusty squad who will hop aboard many a project just upon hearing his name attached. 

Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Adrian Brody can be defined by their collaborations with the director, with many of those now approaching double figures.

Meryl Streep and George Clooney were also coaxed into joining in the fun on Roald Dahl’s classic Fantastic Mr Fox, where Anderson deftly handled the source material yet adding his own spin.

Instead of just being purely gorgeous to look at, almost all of Anderson’s films have a real emotional depth to them.

Whether that is a tale of the Tenenbaum clan reconnecting, siblings bonding over a trip to India, or even through the unlikeliest of friendships between a hotel lobby boy and a larger than life concierge, these films all have poignant messages about family and acceptance.

His soundtracks are an eclectic mix, with debut feature Bottle Rocket boasting brilliant use of The Proclaimers and The Rolling Stones also featuring prominently in The Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr Fox.

The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums (Photo: Touchstone)

His epic odyssey The Darjeeling Limited also employs the wonderful use of several lesser-known hits from 1960s darlings The Kinks, underscoring the hustle and bustle of a retro feeling India.

Efforts in this department have not gone unnoticed with frequent collaborator, Alexandre Desplat, winning the Oscar in 2015 for the Grand Budapest’s score.

Not likely to typecast, Anderson strives to give traditionally orthodox leading men a chance to flex their comedic muscles, arguably best exemplified with Ralph Fiennes whose comedy chops are an absolute delight in the Grand Budapest.

The same can be said of Bruce Willis in Moonrise Kingdom, with the action hero looking more like an accountant than John McClane in the coming of age picture. 

His upcoming release, The French Dispatch, looks like it will be one of this year’s highlights. Anderson has assembled his usual team of players, with a couple of big summer signings to boot.

Alongside some of the aforementioned frequent Andersonians, we have Christoph Waltz, Elizabeth Moss and Timothée Chalamet along for the ride.

Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype and is a burst of energy like many of Anderson’s previous. As he enters his fourth decade of film making, let’s hope he continues to deliver classics for years to come.