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Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Darjeeling Limited

The Darjeeling Limited, a Wes Anderson dramedy from 2007, has an all-star cast, and takes place in India. Three brothers reunite to take a trip across India on the Darjeeling Limited, a train perhaps more fantasy than truth. It is rated R for language.

Francis (Owen Wilson) has organized the trip following the death of their father. He is a controlling and meticulous man, much to the chagrin of brothers Peter (Adrien Brody), and the youngest, Jack (Jason Schwartzman). All have skeletons in the closet, secrets they have kept from one another for years. The alliances among the three of them alternate between two confiding in each other, and then the other telling the secrets he’s just heard to the other one. Typical sibling dysfunction.

I had hoped to see more of India’s countryside during the film, but the action mainly takes place on the train. Jack has an eccentric ex-girlfriend (Natalie Portman) whom we first learn about while watching the short film Hotel Chevalier, a sort of prologue to The Darjeeling Limited. Lasting only 13 minutes, it was offered on the DVD I had of the film, and I’m glad I watched it first, as references to the relationship between Jack and his ex-girlfriend are made during the main film.

Their mother Patricia (Angelica Huston) has run off to a convent in India, and Francis reveals that the trip is really about going to find her and have a sort of family reunion. During the train ride and stops in towns, the three brothers have, shall we say, adventures. Very unexpected events that serve to bring them closer together, and in effect deal with the loss of their father.

This is not Wes Anderson’s best film. (Read my early review of Wes Anderson’s film The Royal Tenenbaums on this site, and definitely see The Grand Budapest Hotel.) My favorite so far of the works I have seen by Wes is Moonrise Kingdom. Today I will also be posting my review of that delightful story, a kind of double feature for you. Instead of watching The Darjeeling Limited, instead I recommend you view a brief video on YouTube of an ad that Wes Anderson made for H&M. The setting takes place on a train and features the Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody.

An aside here is that Adrien Brody first came to my attention in the Spike Lee film, Summer of Sam, playing a disturbed young man so brilliantly, it took his Best Actor role in The Pianist for me to forget that persona. He is a gifted actor, and films I have enjoyed him in include King Kong, where he played Jack Driscoll, and a small turn as Salvador Dali in Midnight in Paris, where Owen Wilson had the starring role. Those two films are well worth watching.

This short ad has a delightful ending that I really loved. Give it a watch and may your holidays be filled with peace: Come Together-H&M directed by Wes Anderson

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