Wes Anderson, if it were possible for two men to have babies, I would ask to have yours.
Note: I am straight. This is purely out of admiration and not in any way sexual… Why, did he say something about me?
*WARNING: Lengthy Backstory*
Bottle Rocket bored me. I’ll be honest, it did. I’ve tried to watch it 3 or so times, and have never gotten more than half way through. And I enjoyed Rushmore in a peripheral sort of way. Love Bill Murray (Caddyshack! Groundhog Day! Ghostbusters! Wheeeeeeee!), Jason Coppolla Schwartzman makes a name for himself. But it really didn’t seize me. As we say it French, it left me neither hot nor cold.
All that changed when I saw The Royal Tenebaums. Spot on cast, tight, snappy dialogue, compelling eccentric characters, fantastic score and amazing camera work. I fell in love with that movie, and still count it in my Top 5.
Life Aquatic was a disappointment for me. It was a visual delight, proving Wes was still perfecting his style, but much like Rushmore, it lacked in substance. I have only seen it once and feel no need to see it again anytime soon.
So going into The Darjeeling Limited, I was very conflicted. I was hoping, maybe even praying, that it would seize me as much as Royal Tenenbaums, but also dreading it would leave me indifferent… Or worse.
Reviews had been mixed, further increasing my anxiety on the matter. And watching The Hotel Chevalier, the film’s precursor/companion piece did nothing to assuage those fears, despite a naked Natalie Portman and some awesome one-liners.
*Backstory Ends Here*
Well, my dearest and most gentle readers, I have some good news:
The Darjeeling Limited is fantastic!
While visually it’s nothing new to Anderson fans, the film is a giant piece of eye candy. But it’s also more than that! It’s funny, the dialogue is sparse but good, the cast superb- a great balance of goofy Wilson, serious Schwartzman and profound Brody (the guy has talent and depth, no doubt about it) – the score, the same mix of Bowie and 60s pop that gave Life Aquatic it’s soul, the story is simple but compelling. Really, across the board this film earns high marks.
My cousin pointed out the over-present influence of the Beatles’ “Help!”, but frankly I didn’t care. If anything, it was an homage. The film is such a treat, I’m still smiling about it a day later.
I don’t doubt that not everyone will feel the same about it as I do. It brings nothing new to the Anderson canon, it’s almost a cross between Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic – or rather, it’s the film Life Aquatic should have been, could have been. Similar story of loss and alienation between a parent and son(s), failed romance, quirky characters, beautiful setting. But somehow it just works.
So in the interest of finding out for yourself, check the film out. At worst it’s visually pleasing. And at best, you’ll find yourself disappointed it ended so soon (surely there are more adventures the Whitman brothers can embark upon!).