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Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman star as three brothers who have drifted apart over the years and try to re-forge their sibling bonds on a hilarious adventure across India. The Royal Tennenbaums meets Lost in Translation.
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
Beyond The Darjeeling Limited
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The jokes are mostly deadpan or subtle or both. That's not to say there aren't laugh-out-loud moments. Very quirky and if you haven't seen a Wes Anderson film before, this is one of his most accessible. People tend to think he's a perpetual college student with his head in the clouds, and i tend to agree with them, but he does make an entertaining film.
I realize this review is inconsistent but maybe I should explain-- I was in high school when this came out and LOVED it. 6 years later i'm not nearly as impressed and gave my copy away. If you enjoy slapstick humor of the intellectual variety, try this movie. If you want to see a "normal" movie featuring characters with realistic behaviors and emotions, do not buy this DVD.
A story of three brothers traveling through India; this tale will have you scratching your head from time to time. It is amazing how the director always acomplishes a feeling of familiarity and weirdness that makes each movie a rare jewl in their own terms. This movie is not for everybody, some of my friends have found it to be boring and pointless, but like I said above, if you have seen any of the movies I've listed, then you will pretty much understand the formula of each.
At its current price, The Darjeeling Limited shouldn't be passed. I would recommend you watch the ones listed above to truly appreciate Wes Anderson's style. This has been another weird, yet familiar ride that I enjoyed from start to credits.
"Darjeeling" has the elements we have come to expect from Anderson: eccentric characters, exploration of family (and family-like) relationships, beautiful visuals and settings, interesting music. etc. And, of course, it features some of the familiar family of actors who have appeared in previous films, including Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray.
This is not to say that Anderson's films are all the same. Each is a unique journey, but the writer/director has put his stamp on them to make each a "Wes Anderson" film, as surely as other great directors have done. Where but in a Wes Anderson film could a train get lost and go off course?
If you have enjoyed other Anderson films, you will definitely want to see "Darjeeling." If you have not seen any of his previous films, you might start with this one and/or "Rushmore." In many ways, these two films may be his most accessible.
Although the movie is wonderful, the DVD is somewhat disappointing. The packaging is very plain and the only extras are the "Hotel Chevalier" short and a making-of documentary. No commentary track or other extras. Guess we have to wait for the Criterion Collection DVD for those.
When I first saw this movie years ago, I was entertained by its quaint twists and turns and the interactions of the "brothers" with each other. After watching it for a second time today, the thought crossed my mind...What if I didn't have a family to share life's experiences with? What if I couldn't spend time on the phone or in person reflecting with my brother and sister about those crazy memories we have of growing up together? The hardships, the laughter, death, marriage, birth, divorce UGH...I wouldn't want to live anymore if I couldn't share those memories with someone special.
You can't just watch this movie once. Every line between the characters gives meaning to life...every argument...every memory...every look they give each other. Their journey to find happiness isn't easy, but it triumphs over the misery of their petty lives.