September 13, 2014

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson, 2007
Three brothers unite on a train in India a year after they lost their father in an attempt to reconnect and have a bonding experience together.

Like all of Wes Anderson's work, the film is easy on the eyes. But despite it's visual perks, it doesn't have a lot going for it. Ironically even though the colorful train is bound to the steel rails, the picture feels quite aimless and all over the place. Their mission together feels quite detached, as if they are mostly on a train killing time by smoking cigarettes and drinking native concoctions that are delivered to their personal sleeper cart. The attempt at multiple story threads (on-board romance, break up grief, family animosity) doesn't really stick. It feels like Anderson really wanted to make a movie in picturesque India. He was so excited that he quickly boarded the plane with Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray and forgot half of the script at home. It's understandable, because the best attributes about the film are probably some of the many amazing shots he managed to get. Heads sticking out of the train window as it passes through the night. The group passing through a bustling marketplace. Various angles of the interior cabin with the aging colorful decor sticking to the walls. It's an Anderson piece that requires more gazing than thinking. Even though it feels like a confused film it does seem to make sense that Anderson would want a picture like this in his library. It fits in well in that respect. You can take in the set pieces with the (very underrated classic rock band) Kinks playing in the background, which at the end of the day really isn't the worst thing to endure.

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