The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Directed By: Wes Anderson
While it has always been obvious that I am a major horror fan, people who have followed this site for its three years notice I do like some other genres or more primarily other directors of other genre films. I am a major Wes Anderson fan. Both Rushmore and The Royal Tenebaums would make a list of my favorite movies and back in 2008 when the 2007 movie by Anderson, The Darjeeling Limited, hit DVD I was at Walmart that day to buy it. That was four years ago and I must admit I didn’t really like it then. Now in 2012 I have revisited the film. And I think the added years to my age have really helped this time around.
A year after the accidental death of their father, three drug-addicted brothers — each suffering from depression – meet for a train trip across India. Francis, the eldest, has organized it. The brothers argue, sulk, resent each other, and fight. The youngest, Jack, estranged from his girlfriend, is attracted to one of the train’s attendants. Peter has left his pregnant wife at home, and he buys a venomous snake. After a few days, Francis discloses their surprising and disconcerting destination. Amid foreign surroundings, can the brothers sort out their differences? A funeral, a meditation, a hilltop ritual, and the Bengal Lancer figure in the reconciliation.
This might be more of a coming of age story than anything else Wes Anderson has made. While other films of his deal with family and young love ect this film seems to really drive home what it’s like to grow and keep your closeness to those important to you while letting go of baggage. It’s a theme that you pick up on mixed in with the typical Anderson style of filmmaking if you’re at an age and can relate. As a result there are some out there that simply won’t understand it if they aren’t yet to that point in their life.
But as noted it really is a touching story in a lot of ways as we watch these three brothers go on this journey. We have a story told with very dry humor and a lot of style, which is typical for anything by Wes Anderson. Making something like that work is very hard but when you have actors that have been in movies by the director before it makes things flow pretty well and stay top notch. This isn’t a perfect film however; it does have a few flaws that can be looked over.
I think when the boys finally run into their mother later in the film that things do sort of drag and go a little off track a bit. But things do quickly rebound and get back into a nice flow before it ends. By the time things wrap I think the symbolism is there and clear for us to see if you look hard enough. I didn’t “get it” at first in 2008, but I get the message now in 2012. So if you didn’t like it before it may pay off to give it another go.
This is a film that is really aging well. And for you big criterion fans out there it’s now on Blu-ray from them. Like any film by Wes Anderson it’s a bit of an acquired taste for movie goers, but if you like it you’ll probably end up loving it. Not as strong as something like Rushmore, but better than Mr. Fox and holds its own with Bottle Rocket.
The Rating (7.5/10)