The Darjeeling Limited
(2007, Wes Anderson)
An odd little movie about a dysfunctional family. Hey, wait, isn’t that every Wes Anderson movie? And if you like him and his style, this’ll be right up your alley.
The Darjeeling Limited is named after the train that takes three sorrowful, estranged brothers on an attempted spiritual journey through the heart of India. It’s filled with amazing visuals, strange characters with strange obsessions, and slow-motion footage, all trademarks of Anderson’s films. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman could never actually pass as brothers, but maintain a believable kinship that’s tested throughout their journey.
The film is beyond quirky, but touching too. The film still suffers from general stiltedness and wandering off path, but there seems to be a continuous and circuitous path of action, dialogue and rhythm that blindly sucks you in even though you’re not certain where it’s all leading.
It’s certainly a return to form after a failed excursion into the land of Costeau with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Darjeeling was preceded on DVD by the short film Hotel Chevalier, which explains a bit more of the relationship between the characters played by Schwartzman and former girlfriend, Natalie Portman. A bunch of buzz surrounded this short when first released, since it features a semi-nude scene from Ms. Portman. In my opinion, the scene’s pretty lukewarm, perhaps mainly because I can’t imagine anyone ever having sex with Jason Schwartzman. He’s so tiny! Like a baby!