Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A train across India

You may disagree as to whether Rushmore or The Royal Tennenbaums is the superior film in Wes Anderson's oeuvre, but I think most would agree that his latest effort, The Darjeeling Limited, does not climb the heights of all things that are gloriously Wes Anderson. That said, it is still an enjoyable amuse bouche of a film.

The movie begins, if you happen to be reading the buzz, with a short, Hotel Chevalier, originally intended to be shown in theatres before the full-length film, but cut upon wider distribution. Three brothers meet on a train at the request of the eldest, played by Owen Wilson, who greets his siblings with his head wrapped in gauze and his nose taped (he smashed into a hill with his face). Adrien Brody is the middle brother, and Jason Schwartzman plays the heartbroken youngest. The brothers are on a spiritual journey, dealing with the pain of their father's death.

Wes Anderson has such an interesting way of examining pain. I appreciate it, because it doesn't invite pity but instead pokes fun at the sorrowful without being mean. There are some scenes in the film that will make you laugh out loud and break your heart at the same time. I suspect that Anderson is attempting to mock Westerners, who head to India expecting spiritual growth, but for India to do all the work. Ultimately, these brothers find some peace, but it is through each other, and of course through the hilarious antics that pepper the film.

The soundtrack is good too, as you might expect from Anderson.

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