The Darjeeling Limited

2008-03-18 13:52
What it's about:

The eldest of three brothers invites his siblings on a train journey across India, after suffering a near fatal motorbike accident, hoping to bridge the rift that their difficult family life has torn between them. Unbeknownst to the two youngest, they are en route to see their estranged mother who is living in a Tibetan monastery. Along the journey, it becomes clear that the answers to their collective problems lie within themselves, and not at any exotic location.

What we thought of it:

If you're a Wes Anderson fan (after the near perfect The Life Aquatic and The Royal Tenenbaums) you'll probably have justifiably high expectations. But it saddens me to say that The Darjeeling Limited isn't quite up there with the best, although it's certainly worth seeing.

Tackling the dysfunctional family once again, Anderson gives us three brothers whose only apparent links are their dead father, absent mother and their matching designer luggage. The usual themes of alienation, soul searching and loss are there – only more low key. The interaction between them takes centre stage for most of the film, but this is a good thing, because God is in the detail and the funniest moments of Darjeeling are to be found in the constant riffing between Wilson, Brody, and Schwartzman.

Other Anderson staples appear, like Angelica Huston and Waris Ahluwalia, albeit briefly, and many of the characters verge on being metaphors to the brother's central story, rather than characters in their own right. Even the beautiful scenery is all too fleeting, compared with the fantastic cross section of the ship in The Life Aquatic.

All in all The Darjeeling Limited is full of Wes Andersonisms, and lovingly packed with the little details that make his movies so rich and rewarding. With less action and outright comedy than The Life Aquatic or The Royal Tenenbaums, it comes across as more of an introspective road movie. If you're familiar with the director, this should give you a good idea of what to expect. If you aren't, expect something slow, intricate, amusing and true to life, while being so "out there" it can make your head spin.

- Ivan Sadler
Three brothers take a spiritual train ride across India to see their estranged mother, after the eldest suffers a near fatal accident. During the long, trial-filled journey, they must face their own demons and the difficulties of brotherly love.

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