March 30, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited - $10

I saw The Darjeeling Limited again last night and loved it even more than the first time. I'm re-posting my original review from last year.

Wes Anderson has once again created an engaging story that is both hysterically funny and deeply emotional. This may be his best movie yet.

This story takes place mainly on a train travelling through India called The Darjeeling Limited. Among its passengers are the three Whitman brothers who have not seen each other in the year since their father's death. One of the brothers, Francis, has organized this reconnecting trip for his brothers with spiritual experiences scheduled on each days laminated itinerary. While the brothers make a valiant effort with each scheduled attempt at creating a spiritual experience, it isn't until the trip seems a total failure that an unscheduled event actually does give the brothers the experience they crave.

Adrian Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson play the Whitman brothers, Peter, Jack, and Francis, and Brody fits in impressively with Anderson's movie making style, one that is quite unique and that Schwartzman and Wilson each have experience with. For most people there is something very hit or miss with the subtle, witty and pause-filled dialogue that Anderson writes. For me it hits the bulls eye, or home run or target, or whatever metaphor you prefer. The Darjeeling Limited had me laughing and moved, sometimes at the same time, by the broken relationships of its emotionally broken characters.

While the writing and humour are often subtle in Darjeeling the major themes of the movie are anything but. Three brothers on a journey together each having brought their belongings in their fathers old luggage (baggage) which they haul around with great effort throughout the whole movie. There are no big surprises or twists in this plot but the story is still captivating.

Visually the train setting allows Anderson to use some enthralling cinematography where at times the world is going by on the outside and at others the train itself is going by and must be caught. Frequently used are Anderson's characteristic slow motion sequences and long moments of holding a single shot.

The performances in Darjeeling are pitch perfect, the look of the movie is detailed and fascinating and the writing is as good as any Anderson has done to date.

I enthusiastically put The Darjeeling Limited on my 'Watch It' list and give it the rarely awarded value of $10.

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