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February 26th Release, 2008 Video: The Darjeeling Limited *** 1/2

February 26, 2008

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I had been waiting for quite awhile for Wes Anderson’s newest film to hit the rental shelves in Oxford because there was not a chance in hell we would actually see it in the theater. So the first day I could rent I was at the store, cash in hand like a little kid about to buy its first puppy. I went with the DVD option of watching the short opening film, Hotel Chevalier, which I am glad I did as there are many subtle (and not so subtle) references to the short film throughout the feature narrative.

The Darjeeling Limited stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman as three brothers brought together in search of their mother (the beloved Anjelica Huston)on a train in India. Anderson’s quirky characters and bold characters are as prominent in this film as in his others. The fantastic thing about Anderson is you can visually appreciate his film with our without the dialogue. The imagery can stand alone. Yet, with the witty banter, you just have more fun as you sit back and enjoy the ride.

Is this my favorite Anderson? No, but I do like it better than the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Comparatively, it is like fusing Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums together, as Anderson explores the strange interactions of siblings and offbeat quirky romance of those we shouldn’t really be with as he did in both films. Anderson also continues with the mythic mother figure and absent father as in many of his films making me wonder if perhaps it is time to move away from the continuing patterns and show us something new.

You should rent it if you are an Anderson fan. Even if you are not, I believe you can enjoy the performances by Brody, Wilson, and Schwartzman but if you are unfamiliar with his work, you may be a little lost to the motivation of some scenes. I’d love to hear what you think! Email me at melanie@oxfordfilmfest.com

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    January 27, 2010 3:38 pm

    I felt that the constant wars between the brothers for the film’s first hour kind of distracting, like someone needed to slap all three of them and get them to shut up. But things came together nicely in the last 40 minutes or so. I’d comment more but it’s been too long since I’ve seen the movie.

    • January 28, 2010 11:55 am

      I understand but it kind of felt like old slapstick combined with postmodern family angst. I dunno, I probably need to revisit the film. I get carried away into the Anderson world.

  2. April 26, 2008 8:25 am

    I think Anderson does stay somewhat removed from the characters – focusing more on their interaction with the environment they are in – although in Royal Tenenbaums, he was able to capture a bit more emotion than this..

  3. April 26, 2008 1:11 am

    Thanks for that good review. I liked this film, but I was kind of ready for the unique style (the first Wes Anderson film I saw was Royal Tenenbaums and I wasn’t really ready for that one). I was really tickled by its streak of absurd humour and the randomness. But it didn’t really touch me, despite it having a fair bit of tragedy. I think maybe the enigmatic style that Wes Anderson likes also unfortunately makes his films a bit distancing.

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