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Family tension again provides dramatic comedy in Wes Anderson's new film, The Darjeeling Limited, about three American brothers traveling by train to find their reclusive mother in rural India. Like Royal Tenenbaums, this film succeeds because of its smart, funny script in addition to the visual beauty of India and its luxurious locomotive transportation. In Darjeeling, the oldest brother, Francis (Owen Wilson), blackmails his two younger siblings, Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman), into traveling to a monastery where their mother, Patricia (Anjelica Huston), has been in hiding as a nun. Supposedly embarking on a spiritual quest, the three men reminisce about the recent death of their father, and the family's irreconcilable problems previous to their reunification. Though they do find Patricia, Francis, Peter, and Jack grow immensely from another brush with death, this time an Indian boy they try to rescue, giving the film an added conceptual depth that Anderson's previous films have been accused of lacking. Co-written by Roman Coppola (CQ), The Darjeeling Limited is a finely-tuned critique of American materialism, emotional vacuity, and our lack of spiritualism, presented in ironic twists and gorgeous cinematography and lighting recalling Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller. A lovely, poignant sequence occurs while the three brothers attend a traditional Indian funeral, and flash back to their father's one year prior. Moreover, the film's soundtrack culled from Satyajit Ray's films and vintage Kinks gives the film a timeless feel, removing it from the predictable indie rock scoring of independent releases. By far Anderson's best film thus far, The Darjeeling Limited offers a much-needed dose of cultural self-reflection, pillared against India's ever-evolving yet ancient religious backbone. --Trinie Dalton
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Once again, Wes Andersen creates a quirky yet strangely moving movie with insight into family dynamics. Lovely, and weird!Published 11 days ago by ronit
Great escape ,but somewhat juvenile. I enjoyed it and can recommend it, but was not overwhelmed.Published 13 days ago by Robert P.
I enjoyed it, especially seeing the Indian people. It was quite representative of my experience based on my time in India. The people there are lovely in so many ways.Published 16 days ago by M. Bolkovatz
Beautiful, a comic and interesting unique tale of brotherhood. How longtime sibling feuds become unraveled into emotion as we age. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Caroline von Broembsen
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