Wes Anderson – The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

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Anderson wrote The Darjeeling Limited with Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. They’re gifted, clever men, but none of them have much perspective on their characters’ overentitlement. What they know, of course, is what it’s like to grow up with insanely narcissistic parents who leave them both spoiled and bereft—globe-trotting basket cases. (The brothers’ vulnerability is underscored by Wilson’s recent suicide attempt—his bandages seem chillingly prophetic.) Trudging through rural India after their train has abandoned them, the Whitmans happen on three boys who tumble into rapids. Is their fragility supposed to mirror the Whitmans’? Is their tightly knit, patriarchal community supposed to offer a contrast? I’m not sure what Anderson is going for, but the interlude feels exploitive. The final sequence saves the film. The journey turns out to have an end—a convent in the foothills of the Himalayas, where the Whitman boys’ mother (Anjelica Huston) has fled to become a nun. Huston gives one of her irrationally great performances—the mother’s fear of her sons’ demands is between the lines, not in them, and you don’t put it all together until she has left the scene. Visually, Anderson tries something new: He zooms in and out of his frames; he violates his own immaculate canvases. India turns out to be the perfect Wes Anderson movie set. You almost believe that the color has a spiritual component, that it’s a way of clinging to hope in the face of an indifferent universe. — David Edelstein

New York Magazine Review – David Edelstein








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