Family tension again provides dramatic comedy in Wes Anderson's new film, The Darjeeling Limited
, about three American brothers travelling by train to find their reclusive mother in rural India. Like The Royal Tenenbaums
, this film succeeds because of its smart, funny script in addition to the visual beauty of India and its luxurious locomotive transportation. In Darjeeling
, the oldest brother, Francis (Owen Wilson), blackmails his two younger siblings, Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman), into travelling to a monastery where their mother, Patricia (Anjelica Huston), has been in hiding as a nun. Supposedly embarking on a spiritual quest, the three men reminisce about the recent death of their father, and the family's irreconcilable problems previous to their reunification. Though they do find Patricia, Francis, Peter, and Jack grow immensely from another brush with death, this time an Indian boy they try to rescue, giving the film an added conceptual depth that Anderson's previous films have been accused of lacking.
Co-written by Roman Coppola, The Darjeeling Limited
is a finely-tuned critique of American materialism, emotional vacuity, and lack of spiritualism, presented in ironic twists and gorgeous cinematography and lighting recalling Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller
. A lovely, poignant sequence occurs while the three brothers attend a traditional Indian funeral, and flash back to their father's one year prior. Moreover, the film's soundtrack culled from Satyajit Ray's films and vintage Kinks gives the film a timeless feel, removing it from the predictable indie rock scoring of independent releases. By far Anderson's best film thus far, The Darjeeling Limited
offers a much-needed dose of cultural self-reflection, pillared against India's ever-evolving yet ancient religious backbone. --Trinie Dalton, Amazon.com