"The Darjeeling Limited"
Directed by Wes Anderson.
Written by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman.
Starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 10/2/07
I know that we, as film-loving cineastes,
are supposed to love everything that Wes Anderson and his films
stand for. However, I typically have gone against this because
1) the first Wes Anderson film I saw was "Rushmore", and everything
else he's done hasn't been as good as "Rushmore", and 2) no matter
how much I love the visuals of all of Anderson's films, even I have
to admit that the stories have never been out of this world great.
So, for Anderson's latest venture, I was
thrilled to have the chance to see this with my biggest Anderson
fanatic friend, Mike "Yac" Iacovone, who loves all of Anderson's
films and showed up nearly three hours early for the free showing
tonight of "The Darjeeling Limited." After the smoke cleared
and the credits finished rolling tonight, even Yac had to admit:
"Well, let's just say it's not my new
favorite Wes Anderson film."
Let me put it another way--as much as I
"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" was uneven, and that
"Bottle Rocket" wasn't nearly as good as advertised, I liked both of
those films better than I liked "The Darjeeling Limited." Why
is that? At the end of the day, this new flick isn't very
funny, isn't that insightful overall, and is just, well, boring for
long stretches of its scant 91-minute running time. In fact, I
almost fell asleep at least twice during this movie.
And, this is disappointing, because I was
intrigued by the premise--three brothers (played by Owen Wilson,
Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) go to India to reconnect as
family while each man negotiates through his own personal crisis in
their own way. And, they do this on a train ride--The
Darjeeling Limited--mending the trust issues they have with each
other and getting into minor bits of trouble during their stay.
And then, they get off the train...and, some more stuff
happens...and then, they get onto another train.
But, wow, this movie overpromised and
underdelivered in a big way for me. Cameos by Anderson
regulars Bill Murray and Anjelica Huston don't work. The
laughs, in general, never really came (and as one of Mike's friends
said, there are never belly laughs in Anderson films, just
consistent chuckles throughout). The film's best moment comes
soon after the boys get off the train, but this is mishandled
somehow, be it execution or not fully flushing out the emotional
impact of what happens during this scene...even now, I don't know
why this bit is wrong, but it's wrong, that's for sure. The
soundtrack is fantastic and once again, the look of Anderson's film
is creative, lively and occasionally beautiful. But why does
this script blow?
Here's one guess--normal Anderson writing
collaborator Wilson didn't help write this script, which maybe left
some laughs at the door in a film that badly needs them; maybe it's
the mix of the three stars we have here (I thought the three worked
well, but some others in Mike's group didn't think they worked at
all). For whatever reason, "The Darjeeling Limited" left me
very disappointed and I don't think a second viewing of this film
will warm it up for me. At all!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard