Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Coots And applejew Exalt The Anderson-ness Of THE DARJEELING LIMITED!!

Merrick here...
Coots & applejew sent in this look at Wes Anderson's THE DARJEELING LIMITED, which releases this weekend. I'm not the world's biggest Wes Anderson fan (which, evidently, makes me unlike most people in universe), but this one has my interest & I'm looking forward to it. I love the train gag in THE TRAILER.
First up, here's Coots ...
Last week I caught a screening of Wes Anderson’s THE DARJEELING LIMITED in Dallas. Not only did I see the theatrical cut of the movie, but I also saw a short film (about 10 minutes or so) right before the feature. We were told by the publicity guy that it was a short film directed by Wes Anderson that is directly related to THE DARJEELING LIMITED. They apparently plan on using it for promotional stuff on the internet and that it probably won’t be running in front of the movie in theaters. Sucks for you. So, I’ll start with the short, and then work my way to the feature. If you’ve seen a Wes Anderson film before, you know what to expect with his stuff: a dry sense of humor and tons of quirkiness spread over very personal…dare I say…intimate plot. Well, this short pretty much leaves the funny at home and is intensely intimate. There are three actors: Jason Schwartzman, Natalie Portman (Bonus.), and some dude that plays a butler. The short film, apparently titled HOTEL CHAVALIER, takes place some time shortly before the events of the feature film. Schwartzman’s character sits alone in a hotel room watching French television. He orders some food, in French, and at one point asks, “How do you say grilled cheese again?” No music. Very funky hotel room. The phone rings again as soon as Schwartz puts it down. Someone unexpected has arrived. It turns out to be Portman, who plays his ex-girlfriend. They exchange some bitter, somber words, and intimacy of the highest order ensues. Portman is absolutely stunning; you’ve seriously never seen her like this. The hair is short, the eyes are dark, and she seems tall next to Schwartzman. In a word, she is sexy. Not like as in, “oh, I wanna have sex with her; she’s hot.” I mean sexy as, “I can’t take my eyes off her. She is commanding the screen. She is in complete control right now, and I like it.” That kind of sexy. Oh, and by the way, she is also hot. And in a particularly intimate scene, Schwartzman, whilst sitting on a bed, undressed Portman while she’s standing in front of him. Her upper body, from the chest up, is offscreen, so the screen is taken up by Schwartzman’s sitting figure and Portman’s torso. He strips her to the skin, and my lord, is it sexy. And yes, Portman is, as one R. Larance would say, “Buckin’ Ass Nekkid.” Overall, the short film is greatness. It’s a very serious Wes Anderson I don’t think we’ve seen before. It’s very sensual, intimate, and somber. Portman chews up the screen even though she barely says a word. The events in this film set up a lot of what happens in THE DARJEELING LIMITED and will, at the very least, make you fall that much more in love with Schwartzman’s character. I highly recommend you track this short down. It’s a doozie. And now, on to the main event… THE DARJEELING LIMITED, the latest film by Wes Anderson, is pretty much awesome. I wasn’t floored; my jaw wasn’t dropped; everything in this film has been done before, but with THE DARJEELING LIMITED, Anderson has absolutely PERFECTED his style. It is easily his crowing achievement so far. I’ll go ahead and break down what worked in this film by category, for your reading pleasure. VISUALLY, this movie is incredible. There is ALWAYS something going on. Even if the characters are having a quiet little conversation amongst themselves, Anderson and Co. manage to keep the screen absolutely filled to the brim with visual detail. All of the film’s locales are lavishly decorated in Indian-style things, as most of the movie takes place in India. Some of the cinematography is breath-taking. When the boys make it to the foothills of the Himalayas, the view is breathtaking. But even though the visuals are always sah-weet, they never overpower the most important thing in the movie, which is of course… CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT is very, very fleshed-out. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman play three American brothers in India trying to get visit their mother, who lives in a Mission at the foothills of the Himalayas. The chemistry between these actors is pretty much stellar; it’s hard to pick which one I like more. They goof, they fight, and they have good times together. One brother keeps secrets from the others, one brother treats the others like babies, and one brother doesn’t really care for the other two. The little idiosyncrasies of the brothers play out like a rock-paper-scissors match, where they all have preferences for certain aspects of another brother’s personality. Confused? Don’t worry; you’ll get it. Once you’re watching the film, it’s not hard to follow because… THE WRITING is really, really solid. Even though the film is somethin’ like an hour and a half long, it feels quicker, somehow. There aren’t ever really any slow spots, and the dialogue is mostly character-revealing banter and arguing between the brothers. I personally found it to be quite hilarious. There are some great lines that you might find yourself quoting on day, a la Pulp Fiction. The plot is very spiritual nature and is at times very…nebulous, but it doesn’t really need to be anything more. If you look deeper, you’ll find things that might mean more to you than they do to others, but might actually mean nothing at all. I think that’s how the writers (Anderson, Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola) intended it to be. It’s only as deep as you want it to be. The train ride they take where they’re searching for mom is a metaphor for their lives after the death of their father, and in the course of finding mom, they realize that they’re really just finding…that’s right…themselves. A bit cliché, I know, but it works great here. IN CONCLUSION, THE DARJEELING LIMITED is perhaps the best work Wes Anderson has yet completed. He’s got an All-Star cast with more chemistry than your junior year of high school, a super-interesting, yet somehow subtle visual style, and a very, very different sense of humor. THE DARJEELING LIMITED is maybe a bit more serious and less ludicrous than his past stuff, but if you like THE LIFE AQUATIC and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, you’ll most likely adore THE DARJEELING LIMITED. If you find no humor in quirky, dry movies, avoid this at all costs. If you use this, call me… Coots

Next up, applejew...
The Darjeeling Limited Director: Wes Anderson Writer(s): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman Starring: Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Amara Karan, Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston Synopsis (From IMDB): Three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other -- to become brothers again like they used to be. Their "spiritual quest", however, veers rapidly off-course (due to events involving over-the-counter pain killers, Indian cough syrup, and pepper spray), and they eventually find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert with eleven suitcases, a printer, and a laminating machine. At this moment, a new, unplanned journey suddenly begins. The Darjeeling Limited will be received no doubt like every Wes Anderson movie; a lot of people will love it and a lot of people will hate it. Anderson simply doesn’t work for everyone. Fans of his films try to convince detractors that they just don’t get it, an argument that is not only stupid, but also pointless. Anderson’s films are too original, too creative, too well done, to be loved by everyone. You can’t please them all, right? I write this because it saddens me to know how many people will hate, and I mean HATE, The Darjeeling Limited. To the Anderson haters out there, it will just come off as more of the same, actually, it will come off as a less funny version of more of the same, a sentiment that is lazy and pisses me off. Yes, it looks and feels like every other Anderson film to date, but its almost as though everything has been refined. Robert D. Yeoman’s cinematography is award worthy. So much of the film takes place on a train, the Darjeeling Limited, yet never is the cinematography boring. It’s kinetic and creative and lenses India in a way that makes you want to go there and have your own spiritual journey. *Slight Spolier* There’s this great little bit of cinematography/production design where the camera tracks from train compartment to train compartment, revealing what each character is doing and where they are. What makes it so nice is that not every character is on the train. Some are in huts, some planes, some hotel rooms, yet they are still all placed on the train. To clarify, instead of finding a train compartment when panning into the next room, the camera finds a hut on the tracks, or the inside of a plane, or the interior of a hotel room. Get the idea? It was just a clever bit of cinema that was worth mentioning. *End Spoiler* Still, no matter how good the cinematography may be, the film lives and dies on the strength of the three brothers. If they weren’t believable, if they lacked chemistry, the movie wouldn’t have worked. Rest assured though, Wilson, Brody, and Schwartzman work as brothers. I have brothers myself, and Anderson and his co-writers convey sibling relationships quite excellently. I found myself laughing sometimes not because of a joke on screen, but because something the brothers did was something my brothers and I had done. The way Wilson, Brody, and Schwartzman interact truly is a joy to watch. But Wes Anderson’s characters often are enjoyable to watch. What makes this movie different than anything else Anderson has done before? Simply, this is the most mature film Anderson has ever made. Yes, its still pretty tongue-in-cheek funny with the occasional wacky occurrence (the scene from the trailer with the pepper spray is laugh out loud funny), but for the most part, the movie is a drama. Each character is dealing with a serious issue. Owen Wilson (Francis) spends the film in heavy bandages due to a motorcycle accident that may or may not have been a suicide attempt. Jason Schwartzman (Jack) can’t get over his ex-girlfriend and goes so far as to listen to her voicemail, who’s code he has stolen. Adrien Brody’s (Peter) wife is pregnant, and he doesn’t know how to deal with that because he always thought they were going to get divorced. On top of all of these issues, the brothers haven’t spoken in a year, since their father’s funeral, and they are trying to figure out why. There is a heavy emotional weight attached to this film and Anderson writes in some scenes you’d never expect in one of his movies. *Spoilers* For instance, Brody’s character has a child die in his arms, a child he couldn’t save from a raging river. The brothers carry this child to his home and Anderson makes an attempt to show what grieving is like. You meet the boy’s father, the rest of his family, and others in his village, and there is no humor present whatsoever. It is a scene of sole drama. Nothing quirky, or Anderson-y, just sadness and how people deal with sadness. *End Spoilers* The Darjeeling Limited truly is a huge step forward for Anderson. It finds balance unlike anything he’s ever done. Its funny, but its also dramatic, and at points touching enough to bring you to tears (I didn’t cry though because I am a man). You should go see this movie. It’s a movie about transition, about finding the right roads in life, a theme symbolized in a side character played by Bill Murray. He’s a businessman that misses the train that I can only assume was his train home. That’s the level Anderson is working at now. This is a more adult Anderson; a director that is growing, despite what some may think. I’m excited to see what he has in store for us next. - by applejew

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus