THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007)

darjeeling

Starring: Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Wharis Ahluwalia, Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Synopsis: A year after their father’s funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other.

Wes Anderson’s fifth feature came after his biggest flop, The Life Aquatic. Again, The Darjeeling Limited didn’t get glowing reviews upon release, providing plenty of ammunition for Anderson nay-sayers. The themes were too similar to his previous work, the style was distracting, it had the same old actors in it. All the usual criticisms could be heard. I disagree whole heartedly, whilst admitting that The Darjeeling Limited is perhaps Anderson’s weakest offering.

The film is set in India, and tells the story of three dysfunctional brothers, Frances, Peter and Jack Whitman, who have come to find their mother, after she didn’t turn up to their fathers funeral. They each have their own problems going on, and don’t get a long too well. Frances (Wilson) is bossy and regimented, and appears to have had a bad accident, his face only just visible through a swathe of bandages. Peter (Brody) is angry and aloof and a bit unstable. Jack (Schwartzman) is a dreamer and also a bitter at his ex girlfriend, not that it stops him from hitting on the train attendant.

Their journey takes them to some fantastic places in India but instead of breathing in the spirituality, they act like so many tourists before them, and head straight for the market to buy shoes and belts (and a poisonous snake). It is only after a tragic accident that the brothers sort themselves out and resolve their differences.

The cast are great in their individual roles, from the energetic but hyper Owen Wilson, to the sulky Adrien Brody and the amorous Jason Schwartzman. The film has the usual Wes Anderson quirks and visual ticks that will leave you wanting more or just leave you cold. The scenery on the train is colourful and vibrant, and the scenery around the India countryside equally breathtaking.

The one thing you could level at the film, as is a common complaint with Anderson’s movies, is that it doesn’t really engage emotionally at any point, including the scene involving the funeral. It’s not a point that particularly bothers me but I can see how it would annoy some people.

The film is prefaced by a fantastic short film called Hotel Chevalier, featuring Jason Schwartzman’s Jack and his ex, played by Natalie Portman in true new-wave French style. It’s great and really adds to the main feature. Check it out below.

3.5 clappers

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.

9 comments

  1. Is is one of my favorite Wes Anderson films actually. Maybe because it’s so underrated. #2 right after Tenenbaums. And that LV luggage I mean, I don’t care about owning movie props, but those suitcases.. Man oh man! 🙂

    • As much as I like the film, it probably ranks near the bottom of the pile in terms of Anderson’s stuff personally. Not to say I don’t love this one as well though! And yeah, the luggage is pretty cool huh!

  2. My least favorite of Anderson’s for many reasons. The main which being that barely any of these characters were likable. Barely anything to really latch onto with any of them. Good review.

    • I kind of agree, but it still had enough Wes charm to pull me through. And despite being unlikeable as characters, Schwartzman and Wilson still make me smile

  3. This is the one filmed that I watched of Anderson that I prayed would be over. Not say it was a bad film and definitely worth a pass but it grew very tiring as it slugged along! Glad that you liked it a bit more!

  4. I just watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and I liked it so much that I was tempted to go through the back catalogue of Wes Anderson’s films. But then I remembered that I have already seen The Darjeeling Limited, and didn’t respond to it very favourably all those years ago. I don’t know if it’s the lack of emotional connection that was really the problem. After all, TGBH didn’t evoke a great deal of emotion, but I was still able to appreciate it because I think it takes a great deal of talent to take something like cold-blooded murder and make it not only funny, but even musical in its timing and theatricality. TGBH was a lot like a musical, in fact – just without the song and dance. I think that’s a great achievement, not to mention that I enjoyed the hell out of Edward Norton’s and Ralph Fiennes’ performances. Anyway, in closing: there might be something hit-or-miss about Wes, for me, as I also remember not really “getting” The Royal Tenenbaums when I saw it in theatres.

    • Thanks for reading! I’m glad you liked GBH, I thought it was superb but then I love all Wes Anderson movies. I agree that they could be hit or miss with some folks though. You should give then another try some time!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s