Thursday, October 25, 2007

All Aboard the Anderson Express!

The Darjeeling Limited

Release: 10/26/2007
Rated R
1 hour, 31 minutes


It’s been three years and we all know what that means. Well, some of us know that the diligent directing and writing of Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums) has evolved into his latest eccentric-family tale.

Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland), Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore), and Owen Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums) portray Peter, Jack and Francis Whitman, estranged brothers traveling aboard the Darjeeling Limited. The brothers have reunited after a year at the behest of Francis to undertake a spiritual journey to rejuvenate their familial bond. As the train ambles through the Indian countryside, Francis’s bossiness and laminated itineraries conflict with the others’ secretiveness jeopardizing the reunion and the special surprise Francis has in store.

It’s nice to have an Anderson film in theaters again. While I have never been a doting fan of his entire body of work *cough* “Rushmore” *cough* “Life Aquatic” *cough*, I can at least say that even his worst outshines many other buddy-travel films (I’m looking at you, “Wild Hogs”). In “DarjeelingAnderson returns with the familiar theme of a strange and estranged family trying to make it work. Only this time the reunion occurs not in a big city or on an oceanic expedition but is set against colorful Indian villages. A great soundtrack of songs from Indian films accompanies the scenic journey. Anderson is in superb form both with cinematography and dialogue.

His outlandish characters are callous and selfish but immensely compassionate. If that sounds contradictory, well, that’s how Anderson rolls. Wilson at his best is as commonplace as credits in an Anderson film, and “Darjeeling” is no exception. Brody gives an excellent performance in his virgin voyage aboard Anderson’s adventure. Co-writer Schwartzman also proves deft at wielding the quirky material. Other mainstays Anjelica Huston, Kumar Pallana, and Bill Murray also appear in small roles.

Dirty Undies
Rita, a.k.a. Sweet Lime, portrayed by Amara Karan, radiates an alluring vibe with her full lips, horn-rimmed glasses, and cigarette. Her partially exposed booty is a plus. She is a stark contrast to the combined fugliness of the Brothers Whitman. Wilson’s bruised and scarred visage, a bloodied Brody, and the lusty Schwartzman help earn an R rating, although the repeated F-bomb explosions have the most impact.

The Money Shot
For fans of Anderson, there is a comfort in the familiarity of ‘The Darjeeling Limited,” a comfort that should extend to wider audiences. Some complain that Anderson should step out of his zone to deliver something new, but M. Night Shyamalan received the same criticism, and look where he isn’t right now. By and large, “The Darjeeling Limited” has undeniable appeal unless you’re just an Anderson hater. In that case, save your money for that “Wild Hogs/Dan in Real Life” value-pack, you know you want to.

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1 comment:

  1. You've been busy lately.

    I'm an Anderson lover, but was disappointed with this. Too much of the same. Much as I love them, I can't watch the same movie (more or less) time and again. Time to get past the Mommy/Daddy issues...