The Darjeeling Limited
September 29, 2007
On the Big Board
|Typically well made and well acted.
|As a Wes Anderson fan, it breaks my heart to put this film here. I suspect I will like it better on a rewatch, though.
|One of the biggest disappointments of the year for me. Style completely trumps content this time around.
|It's funny, but the funny and quirkiness are conspicuous. Great camera work.
Writer/director Wes Anderson has made quite a career of exploring dysfunctional families, and, in fact, dysfunctional individuals. In recent years, he's looked at the complicated relationships that arise when gifted kids become grown-ups in The Royal Tenenbaums and the attempt to build a father-son relationship later in life in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Anderson's films are funny while still having an air of poignancy and sadness about them. Another quality consistent through each film is an attention to detail that is beyond impressive. His incisive screenplays have received consistent notice, with The Royal Tenenbaums (co-written with Owen Wilson) receiving an Academy Award nomination.
One other noteworthy aspect of Anderson's filmmaking is the fact that actors seem to want to work with him again and again. After only four films, Anderson has had multiple projects with Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Seymour Cassel and Kumar Pallana. With The Darjeeling Limited, he adds yet another film with Owen Wilson in the cast, as well as a second with Jason Schwartzman, who also co-wrote the script.
The Darjeeling Limited features Wilson, Schwartzman and Anderson newcomer Adrien Brody as three brothers who haven't spoken to each other in a year. In an effort to bond and to "find themselves", they all agree to take a trip across India to try to recapture the brotherly feelings they once shared. This spiritual journey soon goes terribly awry, of course, and the three find themselves stuck smack in the middle of the desert with 11 suitcases, a printer and a laminating machines - and the beginning of a new journey.
It is highly likely that the days leading up to The Darjeeling Limited will be filled with publicity - though perhaps not the type the cast and crew might have hoped for. With Owen Wilson's highly publicized suicide attempt continuing to dominate the tabloids, his character's potential similarity to real-life events will probably become much of the story (Wilson is bandaged throughout the film and the implication is that his character has attempted suicide). That's unfortunate, because Anderson's films truly deserve to be judged and received on their own merits - not because of a media circus. (Kim Hollis/BOP)