Monday, March 31, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited

K and I decided to rent The Darjeeling Limited this weekend. We had both heard, or assumed, it was supposed to be ‘hilarious’. It wasn’t hilarious; funny, yes, hilarious, no.

I had completely forgotten about this movie but within five minutes I asked, “This looks just like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” Of course it was, it was another Wes Anderson movie. Many of the familiar faces from Life Aquatic are back again in Anderson’s latest character study.

Owen Wilson plays the oldest Whitman brother who brings his two younger brothers together under false pretenses. On a side note, could Anderson have cast 3 bigger noses? Wilson, Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartzman’s noses practically fill the screen at times. Brody’s character is in a loveless marriage but is expecting his first child, and Jason Schwartzman plays a guy who constantly checks his ex-girlfriend’s answering machine. The brothers have not seen each other for a year, since their father’s funeral, and the animosity rears its ugly head early in their meeting.

The characters seem cold and aren’t developed too much so you never get a sense of who they are. Only Brody’s character starts to show some depth in a small grieving Indian village. Owen Wilson is great as the ‘planner’, or control freak, if you will (even down to ordering for everyone). Of course a lot of this has to do with the way Wes Anderson makes his movies. You get a sense that he doesn’t want to reveal too much about his characters, by keeping them close to his vest.

Those familiar with the 70’s kung fu movies may recognize the camera zooms in several scenes. The slow motion bits set to music were a nice bit. Bill Murray has a brief bit at the beginning of the movie as well as one later on. Anjelica Huston also has a small part as the brothers’ mother. And you’ll get an understanding of where Wilson’s characters flaws come from.

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie, but not memorable. On some level, maybe I just don’t get Wes Anderson. I will say that he makes a colorful movie, notice the train and clothing of its employees, with India as its backdrop.

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