For years, director Wes Anderson has had his finger on the pulse of severely dysfunctional families.
For years, director Wes Anderson has had his finger on the pulse of severely dysfunctional families. His latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, is no exception. The film tells the story of Francis, Peter and Jack Whitman, three brothers who haven't seen each other since their father's funeral a year ago. Francis (Owen Wilson), the compulsive planner of the group, convinces the other two to join him on a train trip across India, on a half-baked spiritual quest "to become brothers again, like we used to be."
It's a convenient excuse for Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) to escape their own frustrating lives: Peter is feeling increasingly estranged from his pregnant wife, while Jack has just broken up with a girlfriend. (For the record, there are several small nods to Hotel Chevalier, the short focusing on Schwartzman's character, but seeing the short isn't crucial to understanding the movie.) For his part, Francis has just crashed his motorcycle into a hillside, leaving him with a bruised, bandaged face (and viewers with an uncanny reminder of Wilson's own troubles).
The first half of Darjeeling is typical Wes Anderson fare: character quirks galore, amusing yet nonsensical plot points, gorgeous colors and camera work, and witty — if emotionally stunted — dialogue. The characters are kept at somewhat of a remove, more pill-popping, cough syrup-swilling collections of neuroses than actual, relatable human beings. The bickering over belts and poisonous snakes that takes up the first half of the film is amusing, if somewhat insubstanitial. But the movie quickly takes a somber turn, so read more