Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited

Tonight I was fortunate enough to be able to finagle my way into catching Wes Anderson's newest film "The Darjeeling Limited".

Let me first start off by saying that for me to offer a true and accurate picture about how I feel about the film I must explain that the first time I saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, I was convinced that it wasn't all that great. I certainly didn't think it held up next to The Royal Tenenbaums and certainly didn't even approach Rushmore, which I consider (and still do) Anderson's masterpiece. It wasn't until my third or fourth viewing that The Life Aquatic struck me between the eyes and I understood its brilliance. So, although I enjoyed this film immensely, I wonder if, three or four viewings from now, I'll be struck down with some higher meaning by a bolt from the blue.

Anything is possible.

There wasn't anything about this film I didn't like. I enjoy Wes Anderson movies and this was, without a doubt, a Wes Anderson movie. The camera moves, the overhead, centered close-ups, the quirky characters doing quirky things... But this had something different, it had an added maturity in emotion to it that seemed either lacking or hamfisted in his previous works. A particularly lucid moment that actually comes close to making one want to cry is the scene in the river, the baptism of the brothers into their new relationships. It was quite honestly, in my opinion, a perfect moment in the film.

Perhaps the acting talent also brought a lot to bear in this regard. Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are top notch as the three brothers looking to find each other. They bring a realism to their relationship as siblings that it feels as though they truly have a history together. They know each other.

I particularly liked Schwartzman's character. His story was great and the use of his short stories in the film (vague as they were to start) were an interesting plot device that I'm not sure I would have thought about using in a million years.

Overall, this film is about as funny as Wes Anderson's other films, the emotion is stronger than the others and the characters go on a journey you care about.

I would like to register one serious complaint right now, though. What kind of simple-minded moron decided not to program "The Hotel Chevalier" at the beginning of the print? There are three to five solid and brilliant jokes dependent on setups in the short. (theres a great music cue repeated, information about Schwartzman's character, it makes Natalie Portman's cameo stronger and lets not forget his short story....) Not only that, who in their right mind would think that somehow five to eight minutes of Natalie Portman naked wouldn't sell MORE tickets? Making it iTunes only seems so... Stupid. Knowing Hotel Chevalier in advance added a depth to some of the situations. Is everyone who watches this movie expected be a prior Wes Anderson fan and coming having downloaded it on iTunes? It just feels as though it's doing the audience a disservice.

C'mon Fox. Get with the program.

There it is. I really liked it. I'm going to see it at least a few more times.

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