Friday, November 16, 2007

"The Darjeeling Limited"

By Guest Reviewer
Mike McMullen

You either like Wes Anderson movies or you don't. I have met few people who feel lukewarm about them. Not that they hate them, it's just "not their type". Well they are exactly my type. Quirky, awkward at times, but always with heart.

"The Darjeeling Limited," is no exception. Staring Owen Wilson (as Francis), Adrian Brody (Peter) and Jason Schwartzman (Jack) as three brothers who have had a distant relationship with one another since their father died. Francis gets them all together on a train in India to take a "spiritual journey and become brothers again". Francis is compulsive, having an itinerary written for the trip. Peter is a kleptomaniac (sort of) and is expecting a baby with his wife, which ruins his plans of eventually getting divorced. And Peter is, hard to nail down. He makes long distance calls to check in on his "ex"-girlfriends answering machine. He also has sex with the "stewardess" (Rita) on the train. You get the sense he feels rootless. Rita asks him what's wrong with him. He answers "let me think about that."

The film does take place in India, and you certainly do see a lot of the culture. It's not a living Places to See in India book though. It doesn't make any attempt to show us the India of 'Gandhi', or the India of 'Seven Years in Tibet'. It shows us the India of India. The characters walk among people, not around them. They buy trinkets (and a cobra) at the street market.

The film does weave, as Anderson films are prone to do, and arrives at the credits. Maybe not a solid point, or end. You do get the sense that through this journey, something deep has happened to these men. If it was spiritual or not, we are not told. Maybe the brothers don't know themselves. But there is healing, there is redemption in a way. The men at the end of the film are not the ones we meet at the beginning, but they are the same. The last shot is a train going to a new destination. Fitting, because that is the story of these brothers. At the end of the film, the next chapter in their lives is just starting.

This is a very nice film. It's not overbearing, but not listless either. It does meander, but knows that not all who wander are lost.

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1 comment:

Ali said...

Excellent choice to review. This was one of the funniest, most thought-provoking movies I've seen in a while. Anderson's ability to draw you in while repulsing you is on the verge of genius.

Hey, don't forget the peacock feathers. God, who comes up with this stuff??