The Darjeeling Limited

"Excellent"

The Darjeeling Limited Review


It was a boarding school in Rushmore, a gorgeous city home in The Royal Tenenbaums, and a grand oceanic vessel in The Life Aquatic; Wes Anderson has a jones for condensed spaces. In The Darjeeling Limited, it's a luxurious locomotive rolling through the sublime terrain of Darjeeling, India. Stowed away amongst the German tourists and the toppling luggage are the Whitman Brothers (Jack, Francis, and Peter), a gang of American buffoons trying to find enlightenment, salvation, and relief amidst the sand dunes.

The eldest Whitman brother, Francis (Owen Wilson), found time for an epiphany as he lay on the ground after a motorcycle accident, leaving to wonder why his younger brothers weren't with him. His remedy consists of a brotherly train trip accompanied by a surprise visit to their estranged mother's parish. Don't worry: There's a laminated itinerary if you get confused. The youngest, Jack (Anderson staple Jason Schwartzman), comes aboard to shed the skin of his ex-girlfriend while Peter (Anderson newbie Adrien Brody), the middle brother, has begun feeling desperation over his impending fatherhood. Moreover, they are digging and scratching at every surface to hide the grief over their father's passing; the event that caused their initial scattering.

Tourists at heart, the Whitman boys grab up every ritual, ceremony, and rare specimen of India that they can get their hands on, including a venomous snake and a can of mace. The constant interruptions, the flings with Indian girls, the compulsive stealing; the brothers grieve but not properly. With each absurd grasp at the unknown, the brothers move further away from the act of accepting their father's death and closer to maddening stasis. It is even apparent in the opening scene: an older man (the required Bill Murray) running for a train is outrun by a long-limbed Peter. The old man's inability to drop his cumbersome luggage becomes a key symbol of the film; a brilliant image that will come back at the film's culmination.

After spiritual incarnations involving feather-burying, bell-ringing, and temple-worshipping fail, the moment of truth finally comes when the brothers attempt to save three kids from drowning; two survive but one dies. In an open Renoir reference, the boys hang around an Indian village and are there for the child's funeral, dumbstruck by the heroic sadness of the boy's father (Irfan Khan). Though they still must visit mom (Anjelica Huston), it's in the village that the boys finally come to terms with their father and their repressed melancholy.

The village finds hope in these lost Americans, even if Francis' initial reaction to the drowning kids is "Look at these assholes!" Beautifully shot by Anderson's ace cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman, the filmmaker's search for the unknown leads to a whimsical sense of spirituality for both him and the Whitman boys, easily delineating Darjeeling as the auteur's best work to date. The use of songs by the Kinks, the Marc Jacobs designs, the dazed pastels; its all Anderson to a T, but it's the first time these elements have allowed Anderson to roam free, rather than cooping him up inside.

Getting crowded in here.



The Darjeeling Limited

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th October 2007

Box Office USA: $11.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $24.4M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 128 Rotten: 60

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Francis, as Jack, as Peter, as The Businessman, as Patricia, as Alice, as Brendan, as Jack's X-Girlfriend, as Rita, as The Chief Steward, as The Father, as The Mechanic, as Old Man

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.