Monday, December 24, 2007
The Darjeeling Limited (USA, 2007, Wes Anderson)
And so I finally got around to seeing the latest joint effort from Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Keeping in mind that this is the first (mini-) review I've written in three months, I will say that while I enjoyed it at the level of pure whimsy and it is undeniably charming, due in no small part to the appealing cast and Anderson's oh so twee visual and aural compositions, it is easily the slightest of the four Anderson films.
The story takes place in India, and Anderson seems out of his element here. According to elder brother Francis, played by Wilson, the brothers are on a spiritual quest, but there's little to indicate that Anderson understands exactly what makes India such a locus of spirituality. Having never been there myself, I hesitate to--nay, I completely refrain from--hazard any guesses myself. I'll leave that to folks like yourself, who have been. All I can say is that in all the India-set literature and cinema I've enjoyed has allowed me to feel something of a vicarious witness to India's complexities and contradictions, and Anderson never really gets inside of them here.
That said, the playful sibling antagonism of the three leads (each delightful in his own way, with Schwartzman in particular conveying a surprising soulfulness, but Wilson easily has the strongest screen presence) helps to paper over a lot of the thematic flaws, and there is little doubt that Anderson knows how to craft an interesting audio-visual experience. I just wish the journey through this land had taken me someplace a bit more substantial and memorable