Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Darjeeling Limited [2007]


The Darjeeling Limited is the kind of movie the world wouldn’t rant over, yet this underrated gem from Wes Anderson has the strange ability to endear itself to the viewers without much of a hullabaloo. Nearly every aspect of the movie – direction, acting, screenplay, story, music, characters et al – may be described by the epithet ‘quirky’ or any of its synonyms. The film is about three semi-lunatic brothers – played superbly by Owen Wilson (he is especially brilliant), Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartzman – belonging to one hell of a dysfunctional family, taking a trip across India to bridge their love-hate relationships, and to undergo some sort of quasi-spiritual awakening. The delectably comic script, with terrific aid from the equally mad-cap style of camera work, managed to make this a bittersweet, humorous, whimsical, colourful, satirical and intelligent comedy, with a subtle layer of poignancy just beneath the surface. And the most interesting aspect about the movie is that, its background score is filled with, among others, music from various Satyajit Ray movies (for those uninitiated, barring his first few films, music for most of his movies were composed by the great man himself).









Director: Wes Anderson
Genre: Comedy/Social Satire/Road Movie
Language: English
Country: US

12 comments:

theseventhart said...

"Those Germans are bothering me. " - Was this a hangover from the Wladyslaw Spilzman character? :D

theseventhart said...

on a serious note, Anderson is one auteur who knows how Hollywood works and how a stereotype can be used to create something totally new without going spoofy.

Shubhajit said...

This being my first Anderson movie, it would be difficult for me to say much, but if I'm to form my judgements on his solely based on this cinema, I have to admit that he is a wonderful talent with an ability to draw really quirky, irreverent characters and scenarios. And his dose of humour certainly bears a unique signature touch - and that surely makes him an auteur, as you've aptly called him by.

Bhargav Saikia said...

Quite an enjoyable movie. Wes Anderson is adapting Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox! Can't wait for this movie..I remember doing the play in my junior school days and I was Mr. Fox in that ;-)

Shubhajit said...

Great! That must be one memory you would want to carry with you for a long time!

alpez said...

dude, da indian chic in da train was HOT...

sitenoise said...

Lucky you! If this is your first Wes Anderson film you have nowhere to go but up. Darjeeling Limited is tired, passionless, uninspired Anderson.

That's the bitch about being a film director, I guess. You put a few great films out there and then folks get expectations. His four other films are miles above this one.

Shubhajit said...

@Alpez: Was she? ;P

@Sitenoise: Yeah, this was my first Wes Anderson flick. Well, its quite possible that this might not be his best effort, or even for that matter, this might be the least among all his films (though I find that a tad difficult to accept - cos that would mean all his other films are brilliant or above according to my rating system). But c'mon buddy, this surely is anything but tired, passionless and uninspired. Nonetheless, I respect your opinion, as I hope you will mine :)

sitenoise said...

I totally respect your opinion or I wouldn't come around and read about what you're seeing.

We've talked about this before (I think) ... it's a completely different experience for, in this case, you ... to be seeing this first without the experience of his previous films. It can most assuredly be a four star film for you.

And now, after seeing this, your experience of his previous films will be different from mine. "Bottle Rocket", for instance will probably seem a little dated and the production values a little sub par, the milieu a little less mature. But seeing that film come out of nowhere back in the day ... wow!

Beyond that, "Rushmore" might seem a little young, "The Life Aquatic" a little weird, but it wouldn't surprise me if you found all of them brilliant, especially "Royal Tennenbaums". The guy is a major talent.

And to be clear I say Darjeeling is 'tired, uninspired, passionless" ANDERSON ... not simply those things by themselves.

What we might disagree on is whether or not someone can escape their history and pretend to view a film "objectively". ;)

Shubhajit said...

I apologise for for having interpreted your previous comment in the wrong sense. I understand what you mean, and your views have made me especially keen to view his earlier movies. I guess only then can I appropriately place Darjeeling Limited. However, I really liked this movie - especially its quirkiness, though I believe that something associated with all his films.

And yeah, being truly objective is well nigh impossible - though of course that's my subjective opinion :)

sitenoise said...

Shubhajit, "quirky" is an understatement. ;) If you like this film's approach, I can't encourage you enough to seek out his other stuff. (Bill Murray is so freakin' good in "Life Aquatic" ...)

A couple other films like Anderson's, sorta, are "I Heart Huckabees" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" ... maybe not as funny but they have similar existential knarliness.

Shubhajit said...

Yeah, I love movies that are quirky and/or funny in a dark sense. I'll surely try and lay my hands on Anderson's remaining movies - especially given that I quite liked the signature style of this movie - an Anderson trait I believe. By the way, I've seen The Talented Mr. Ripley, but that was such a long time back that I hardly have any concrete opinions about it now.