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143 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's go have a drink and smoke a cigarette
Wes Anderson is at his best when he explores a small group of people -- sometimes family, sometimes not -- and explores what makes them tick.

And after the cluttered "The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou," Anderson returns to those roots with "The Darjeeling Limited." Technically it's an Indian road trip movie, and it's full of his quirky charm... but at heart it's...
Published on December 9, 2007 by E. A Solinas

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Darjeeling? I'd rather have Earl Gray (hot)
The Darjeeling Limited is an extremely odd and quirky little film. The cinematography is beautiful in both location and detail. The Darjeeling Limited itself is quite exotic and colorful, and provides us a unique look at train travel in India. Additionally, native citizens of India are used throughout the film, which adds weight to the authentic feel. However lovely,...
Published on March 23, 2008 by Karen Joan

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143 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's go have a drink and smoke a cigarette, December 9, 2007
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This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
Wes Anderson is at his best when he explores a small group of people -- sometimes family, sometimes not -- and explores what makes them tick.

And after the cluttered "The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou," Anderson returns to those roots with "The Darjeeling Limited." Technically it's an Indian road trip movie, and it's full of his quirky charm... but at heart it's just about three unhapppy brothers with a lot of baggage. Both literally and psychologically.

The forlorn Peter (Adrien Brody) and his luggage barely make it to an Indian train in time to join his brothers, woman-chasing writer Jack (Jason Schwartzman) and bandaged control freak Francis (Owen Wilson). They haven't spoken for a year, and now they're planning to awkwardly bond as they travel to their estranged mother's convent.

But after disasters involving a snake, painkillers and pepper spray, the three brothers find themselves (and their monogrammed suitcases) thrown off the train. As they trek back to civilization, the three men set out on a quest to explore the spiritual, deal with life, death, feathers, man-eating tigers, funerals and their own painful memories... and possibly find their mom.

Nobody in their right mind would expect Wes Anderson to spin up an ordinary good-ol'-boys road trip movie. At least, not the way most directors would. Instead, Anderson crafts this as the baby brother to "The Royal Tenenbaums," exploring a fractured, mildly dysfunctional family with an absent parent.

And the cinematic flavour of "Darjeeling Limited" is much the same as in "Royal Tenenbaums" -- bittersweetly funny and arch, with a tinge of poetic melancholy underlying the plot. It would be an endearing movie in any setting, but somehow putting it in the mellow glow of India's dusty roads, bright fields and cluttered shrines makes it even better. The bright, visual richness gives it a sense of whimsy.

For the record, Roman Coppola and Schwartzman helped Anderson out with the script, but there isn't much change. As always, lots of wry, amusingly contemplative dialogue ("I wonder if the three of us would've been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people"), though there is some hilarious comedic scenes of sibling infighting. It even gets slapsticky.

Fortunately, Anderson never puts artificial twists into the story, for any extra drama, comedy or thrills; the closest thing would be a brief detour into a child's funeral. The story simply flows by, because it's all about the brothers -- and focusing on anything but their self-imposed journey would just be extra baggage.

And the three men playing Jack, Francis and Peter are nothing short of brilliant. Brody is vaguely lost and forlorn, while Schwartzman is a quirky rake who is still haunted by his last girlfriend (played by Natalie Portman in the short intro, "Hotel Chevalier"). But there's something almost painfully wounded about Wilson's reckless control freak, which has nothing to do with his bandages.

"The Darjeeling Limited" is a visually astounding, contemplative little comedy, all about three men who have to deal with the past before they can move on. Put it on the shelf next to "Royal Tenenbaums."
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's Our Train!", March 10, 2008
This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
Synopsis: An ornate and psychedelically colored train known as the Darjeeling Limited transports three estranged brothers; Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) to destinations unknown (actually Francis is attempting to arrange a rendezvous with their constantly disappearing Mother (Anjelica Huston) now living as a nun in Tibet). It has only been a year since their Father's tragic death and each brother carries their own personal heartache over his passing and their Mother's disturbing absence from the funeral.

As one comes to expect when traveling with others, close proximity, annoying behaviors and old wounds eventually surface which must be dealt with as they arise. Add to the mix unforeseen events both aboard the train and at intermittent stopovers along the way and you have the makings of a transformational experience unlike anything the brothers could have anticipated.

Critique: The '07 film `The Darjeeling Limited' begins painfully slow and incomprehensibly weird but if you have the fortitude to survive the first 40 minutes you will eventually find yourself on a delightfully oddball, unpredictable trek across the Indian subcontinent on a spiritual journey in search of physical, emotional and relational healing. Serving as a metaphor for life's journey, one might say that we are all aboard the Darjeeling Limited headed in the same direction to parts unknown. In the final analysis one learns that it's not where you're headed but how much baggage you drag along with you.

There's a lot of food for thought hidden away in this film for those who are willing to put in the effort and watch until the very end. Give it a try if you're in the mood for something obtuse.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Edition Comes Jam-Packed with Extras!, October 11, 2010
Cubist (United States) - See all my reviews
The first disc starts off with "Hotel Chevalier," a short film that acts as a prequel of sorts to The Darjeeling Limited and provides a backstory to Jack. In France, he meets with his ex-girlfriend in his posh hotel room. The usually modest Natalie Portman shows quite a bit of skin in this film and shares quite a sensual moment (especially for an Anderson film) with Jason Schwartzman's character.

Also included is a theatrical trailer.

There is an audio commentary by writer/director Wes Anderson, co-writers Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. The three of them start off discussing their writing process and how one's subconscious plays a role. They touch upon various aspects of the production, including production design, cinematography, and so on. Interestingly, the three of them were responsible for their own Whitman brother to write for. A lot of the commentary is spent recounting all kinds of filming anecdotes.

The second disc starts off with a "Conversation with James Ivory." He and Anderson talk about the Indian music used in the film. Anderson was influenced by and used several musical cues from Ivory's films. The veteran filmmaker talks about some of his early Indian films with clips illustrating some of the music from it that Anderson used.

There is a visual essay by Matt Zoller Seitz about the film and how it best sums up everything about Anderson's films. Seitz provides fascinating analysis over clips from the film and the short film as well.

Also included is a 40 minute making of documentary by Barry Braverman. It takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to the production with plenty of footage of Anderson and his crew filming on location. The documentary provides some fascinating insight into what it must be like to make a film there and how Anderson adapted his methods there.

"Sriharsh's Audition" features footage of a child Indian actor trying out for the film.

There is a deleted scene and two alternate takes that run just over three minutes. We see Peter Whitman playing cricket with some Indians. There is an alternate take of the three brothers running down a hill and then one of them trying to board an airplane.

Also included is a clever American Express commercial that Anderson shot around the time of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Criterion Collection. In it, the filmmaker slyly parodies the notion of making a film while also paying homage to Francois Truffaut's film Day for Night.

"Oakley Friedberg/Packer Speech" is a slideshow presentation that a boy made while his parents were working on Darjeeling Limited. He and his folks about helped out the locals while they were there.

"Trophy Case" is an amusing little bit about the "awards" that the film won.

"Waris' Diary" is a collection of very brief snippets of behind-the-scenes footage not shown in the documentary. They provide additional insight into the production.

"Stills Galleries" features photographs by on-set photographer James Hamilton and also candid snapshots by Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody's mothers.

Finally, "Sketch by Roman Coppola" is footage of Anderson, Coppola and Schwartzman traveling through India while they were talking about and writing the screenplay for Darjeeling Limited.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlimited comedy and tearful humanity, May 28, 2008
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This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
Wes Anderson directs this movie about three brothers on a spiritual journey. In true comedy form, we get to see the brotherly love and jealously that siblings often have for each other. I knew this was going to be a wonderful comedy, but what always takes me aback is the soulful humanity that is in Wes Anderson movies. Once again we get to see Owen Wilson, Bill Murray (in a cameo), Jason Schwartzman, and Anjelica Huston. But we also see the great Adrien Brody playing one of the three brothers. While your laughing, you just might be surprised to find tears falling. This is a wonderful film to share with family.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Really Beginning To Like Wes Anderson...But He Requires a Certain Taste, February 23, 2011
This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
The Darjeeling Limited is a odd, yet pretty enjoyable movie. I'll admit it is not for everybody and has a very specific type of humor to it. Many will find it boring, but I didn't mind it. Also, I'm not very well-known of Wes Anderson's films just yet other than Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I enjoyed and thought was also a little odd and dry but overall pretty neatly done. I can see his resemblences throughout both films and can imagine his others are similar as well. I laughed out loud quite a few good times especially at Jason Schwartzman's character, Jack. I felt all the brothers (Brody, Wilson, & Schwartzman) were well cast and each brought their own humor to the movie. The overall basis of the film is these three brothers whom no longer act like brothers riding on the Darjeeling Express Train through India to see their mother who is in the Himilayas. They encounter a few obstacles in the way, but manage to also find themselves and reconnect as brothers through their "spiritual" journey.

The Darjeeling Limited is a Pt. 2 of Wes Anderson's film in a whole. The Pt. 1 is "Hotel Chevalier" which is a 13 minute short film about Jack's character in France before he got on the Darjeeling Express. This short film introduces Natalie Portman's character which can be seen briefly in the actual movie. The Short film, which should be watched before the actual movie, indeed offers more to the movie rather than watching the movie alone. Again, its odd in general, but I quickly realized this is a different film. Different is nice sometimes...I'd recommend giving it a watch. I hope I've been helpful.

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by its cover!, May 21, 2008
This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
Isn't it the dumbest thing to judge a movie by its title? Well, that's what I had done with this little jewel of a movie. When I looked at the theater schedules, my eyes just skipped this title for whatever reasons. But I should've known better because the famous "never judge a book by its cover" proverb has always been around, hasn't it?

I came across this movie while I was channel surfing and was lucky to catch it just as it was starting. I didn't know anything about it, so it really helped that the initial scene shows no other than Bill Murray riding a cab going furiously fast, through the crowded streets of an Indian city.

Bill Murray's character arrives at the train station and then runs along the platform trying to catch the Darjeeling Limited, a train which is just starting to leave. Then, in a choreographed slow motion shot, we see Peter Whitman (Adrien Brody) catching up with Bill, getting ahead of him, and eventually leaving him behind as he catches the train and boards it through the last car. We won't see Bill's character until a brief scene later in the movie; what we see, instead, is a close-up of Peter lifting his sunglasses and triumphantly looking back at a defeated Bill Murray as he gives up trying to catch the train. This is the beginning of the mesmerizing journey of three brothers, Peter, Francis and Jack Whitman, through interior India, while they look for a reason to be together.

The Whitman brothers share two cabins on the Darjeeling Limited which is loosely based on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a legendary train that runs through West Bengal in northeast India. It's been some time since they saw each other and for some reason Peter and Jack have agreed with Francis to take this trip.

As brothers, they have things in common. They like to smoke cigarettes and they share a taste for over the counter drugs and painkillers. They all carry and share an inherited, expensive, Louis Vuitton-like complete luggage set, which is almost a character in itself; and of course, they all share a past of which, luckily, we get to see a glimpse.

They're brothers, but they are also very different. They all wear suits, but when it's time for bed, Francis wears a "Darjeeling Limited" pajama; Peter wears boxers, a dress shirt and a sleeping mask; and Jack wears the bathrobe he brought from his brief stay with his girlfriend at a luxurious Paris hotel. They sleep in these, but they also fight, pray and confer. Unexpectedly, these outfits tell us much of what these characters have been through.

Owen Wilson is perfect as Francis, the eldest, who spends almost the entire movie with his head wrapped in an odd-looking set of bandages. He recently crashed with his motorcycle and was technically dead for a moment. He is single or perhaps divorced, and takes, or tries to take, the role of leader and organizes the itinerary. He is struggling to be the glue that they need to stay together but goes a little over the top and even orders what Jack and Peter are having for dinner.

Jason Schwartzman is Jack, the youngest, a published writer who has a high maintenance girlfriend. His stories, so he says, are based on "fictional" characters, but those suspiciously mirror exactly what happens to him, his girlfriend and his family. Jack is the most candid and doesn't hesitate to say to Francis and Peter: "I wonder if the three of us would've been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people".

Adrien Brody plays Peter, the soon-to-be dad who likes to wear his father's prescription glasses although these give him a never-ending headache. Perhaps we get to know the least about Peter, but Brody does an excellent job and with his solemn, woebegone expressions he gets Peter to speak a thousand words.

The screenplay by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman is extraordinary. But the absolute beauty of this screenplay resides not in the things the characters get to say, but rather in the ones left unsaid. It is like a fill in the blanks puzzle that Anderson and company have given us to complete. I bet anyone can come up with some interesting theories on what it is that we don't see in this movie. I sure came with mine. Initially, I was trying to think of the most logical plot, one that made sense. However, when I saw this movie a second, and a third time, I stopped trying to connect the dots, forgot about logic, took pleasure in the outstanding performances and enjoyed every moment of it.

This is a tale that can spread over so many things that I'm still overwhelmed. It is a story about faith and fate; trust, relationships, aspirations and frustrations; desperation and death. Conceivably, above all, it is a story about friendship, family and love. I do not deny that the mood you're in definitely affects the way a movie affects you. But in this case, I am sure it must be repeatedly delightful and engaging, regardless of your mood, to witness these three brothers spend a few days together, do good beyond what they initially intended and successfully complete their spiritual quest.

This is a funny, engaging and very well made movie. The cinematography, by Robert Yeoman, is outstanding. Teaming up again with Anderson, Yeoman beautifully shoots it through stunning Indian locations in a yellowish, somber tone, mixes it with some slow motion and every now and then shifts to bright blues, reds and greens. The back and forth through the train cabins and the close-ups of the Whitman brothers give this movie a peculiar and unforgettable feel.

Acting, casting, editing, art direction, production design and specially the music and songs, are all exactly what this film needs. Supporting cast is also vital. Like Bill Murray, Anjelica Houston joins Wes Anderson again, and delivers a solid, key performance. Also, after appearing alongside Jason Schwartzman in "Hotel Chevalier", the 13 minute prelude to the Darjeeling Limited, Natalie Portman can be seen briefly as Jack's girlfriend.

I've always thought that having just up to four stars to rate a movie is like trying to write your full name with just four letters. In this case, "The Darjeeling Limited" gets my highest rating because I could not think of a single flaw in it, nor any way this movie could be better, and most of all, because I really enjoyed it.

"The Darjeeling Limited" might become a "cult" film. Wes Anderson has another couple of "cult" movies to his writing and directing credits: The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I've also skipped those in the past. For sure that, soon, will be corrected. And please, never, ever, judge a movie by its title, poster or trailer!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gonna take a spiritual journey, March 21, 2008
This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
There's a time out of mind feeling in "Darjeeling Limited" that makes me think it could just as easily have taken place in the 60's. If Francis (Owen Wilson) hadn't kept looking for a power cord, I would have been flashing back to the time when the Kinks' music from the soundtrack was original.

The story's about three brothers: Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman). Francis originally tells his two younger sibs they're going on a spiritual journey after their father's death. His real motive is to find their mother (Anjelica Huston), who's gone off to an Indian convent instead of attending their father's funeral.

Unfortunately, the brothers are not only not bonding--they're driving the conductor crazy til they get kicked off. They do manage to pull things together to help some locals and in so doing, experience the revival they'd needed. From there, they travel to see their Mom.

Even if the brothers are occasionally depressing, the scenery, music, and train are well worth watching "Darjeeling Limited" for. This is definitely a spiritual journey even for those of us watching in the audience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Darjeeling Unlimited is real!, October 24, 2011
This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
As I read the other reviews, I find that they may be result of expectation, rather than the movie itself. I find the characters (three very different brothers)very real, self absorbed, somewhat bratty and imature, much like alot of people I've known. Their ridiculous behavior is amplified when brought together after some time apart, much like real siblings. Siblings do act differently with each other than with other people. The plotting and manipulation between any two against the third is hilarious. This is not slapstick, though there is some hilarious physical humor, and it is not hard drama, though there is some deadly serious stuff here. It is a beautiful balance of serious and funny, sad and comical all against the colorful backdrop of India. I highly recomend this movie to MOVIE fans. People who are fans of certain genre's may not get this, but people who enjoy subtlety and storytelling against and exotic backdrop may love this film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All In The Family, Part VI, November 2, 2007
Once upon a time, probably in this century, there were three brothers, each careening thru live in his own way, each struggling to cope with the loss of his father. The Darjeeling Limited, off-the-cuff-and-walls and still young film-maker Wes Anderson's latest offering (begun in 2005) is all about who you think James L. Whitman was, despite the fact that you never get to meet him. You do get to meet the three, up close and all true. They've agreed somehow to meet one year after Dad's demise, on a train to nowhere. It's a spiritual (there's that word) journey (as all good train rides are), seeking answers to time-honored questions about live, death, being, not being, power adapters, and prescription pain meds.

Anyone who enjoys a good tense action thriller will love the opening sequence featuring Bill Murray as "The Businessman", all the moreso because it's just a connector to the rest of the film. Could this mean that it's a vital clue to our understanding of who Jimmy Whitman actually was? For the first three quarters of the feature, set initially in the high desert Darjeeling region of NE India between Nepal and Bangladesh, while you practice morphing together the faces of Owen Wilson (embandaged), Adrien Brody (emschnozzed), and Jason Schwartzman (emustachioed) to create your possible reconstruction of the man who sired them, they become your existential tour guides to brotherly love, sibling rivalry, and family frustration. And so you have the next installment in WA's fascination with and obsessive emphasis on strange family members and their ever-developing relationships with each other, even beyond the reaches of death. Momentary memorial experience is all. Money is no object. By the time we realize that Schwartzman (Jack) hasn't worn any shoes at all thru the entire thing (not even in the short that sets up his part of the b.g.), the three have collectively and symbolically re-lived the tragic death and circuitously-reached funeral of JLW, telling us nothing and everything in the process about his personage, his humanity, and his penchants. Remains only for the film's final chapter to crash Mom's slumber party of conventional nuns in the foothills of the Himalayas, where lurks the dreadful man-eating tiger, so that ultimately we can subtract Angelica Huston's features from our composite sketch to arrive at a more complete portrait of the man that is anything but finished, and find Zen-like ways of accepting that not every wife will actually make it to every husband's burial, matronly bonds notwithstanding. High in the mountains we find the source of Wilson's "take charge" eldest, Francis - he makes plans for you, orders your food for you, but also takes the hardest hits. "Let's look at our itineraries, shall we?" Unpredictable Peter (Brody) says "I think I'm going to hold this in for awhile", but doesn't. As an ensemble, they couldn't be more delightfully deadpan, so serious about their brand of ingrained silliness, never looking knowingly at us, always gaining insight to their selves and each other.

So have we figured out who James Whitman was? Not really. Isn't that what the next one will be for? All we can say by the end of this movie, based not exclusively but emphatically on his brilliantly designed Louis Vuitton/Eric Anderson luggage set, is that Dad must have been one heck of an adventuresome, artistic, absent, awesome, analagous, adult Andersonian man. The film's scenery and cinematography are great, but know that this is a man's manly film (as evidenced by the Vuitton-designed suits that the leads wear throughout) and that consequently women may be treated somewhat incidentally. Maybe a bigger part for Murray ahead in Part VII - but wait! This one's all about him, isn't it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wes is always good., June 15, 2008
This review is from: The Darjeeling Limited (DVD)
So Wes Anderson seems to be on a bit of a downslide as of late, but that does not mean that I do not enjoy this film as with his others.

So The Darjeeling Limited is not his best film at all, but still a good movie. I can understand that if you are not a Wes Anderson fan, you might not really get the movie and find it slow, but if you are a Wes Anderson fan, then this film may reach you.

Really, the backbone theme that I get form this movie that Wes had not really explored as much before was the idea of mourning and loss. The characters in the movie are going on a rather vain and ridiculous "spiritual journey" to help mourn the loss of their father, their absent mother, and whatever else in life is bothering them. It is full of superficial feelings and the boys then learn about because of an incident when they experience true loss and see absolute mourning of an entire village. This events gives them the strength tor really go and confront their absent mother in an attempt to heal themselves.

Like I said, the movie is paced a little slow, but I still love the story line and the acting as well as the directing. That was my one real complaint with his last movie, "The Life Aquatic" was the pacing and editing of the film. It really made itself choppy and forced. As much as I loved the story and the acting, it is hard for me to watch. This one is not as choppy and is put together much more smoothly overall.

I recommend this to all Wes Anderson fans as well as indie film buffs, but outside of that, I can see where others will be turned off by it.
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