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So, Wes Anderson, the king of understated comedy, his 8th film as director/writer, usually with the reinvented (and dull) Bill Murray at the heart, earning 3 Oscar nominations in the process. Rushmore, The Royal Tenanbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou are his most well known, every frame visually immaculate and iridescent perfection. The look of the film is Anderson’s main talent, his movies often so subtle and melancholic they appear not to be that humorous. They often aren’t. They are not everybody’s cup of tea. But you can’t fault his craft. He creates whimsical and surreal worlds.
Francis (Owen Wilson) persuades his brothers Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) to go on holiday in India for a voyage of discovery, a bit of family bonding exercise after the recent death of his father. Mom (Anjelica Huston) lives in a hippy retreat in Punjab State and Francis deciding to pay her a surprise visit during the trip.
The boys begin to roll, clunk and squeak across the dusty continent on the five day train journey, assisted by tour planner Brendan (Wallace Wolodarsky). The boys are soon upsetting the turban wearing chief steward (Waris Ahluwalia) with their American antics and randy Jack can’t keep his hands of the beautiful female steward Rita (Amara Karan), whilst Francis insists on buying authentic Indian culture at every stop, including a venomous Cobra.
But it’s not long before the Chief Steward kicks them off the train for yet another violation and they have to make by foot, experiencing tragedy in a local village, an unfortunate rash and losing their expensive Louis Vuitton luggage. It seems India is not going to let them off easy.
The biggest laugh in the film is Billy Murray’s very early and brief cameo but not funny until the end of the movie as you realize he is not going to be in it. Ho Ho. Murray is Anderson’s movies and the fact he doesn’t last long in this one suggest he read the script. It’s not great. In fact it’s boring and fairly meaningless. Wes has got a movie, the studio just let him get on with it and we have Anderson’s worse film here.
Somebody liked it as its relatively cheap budget of $17.5 million dragged back $35million. I didn’t like it and too subtle to register in the comedy stakes and lacked Anderson’s original and often familiar surreal textures and striking characters. Wilson is wasted here and the fact he was suicidal in real life at the time shows in the film with his lackluster turn. In fact the only notable thing was all three actors had big noses. Its certainly lacked Bill Murrays signature lead although the new, old Murray, if you see what I mean, is no where near as funny as 1980s obnoxious Murray, the one we all want back. It’s just not worth the effort guys and even the original Rushmore schoolboy Jason Schwartzman returning all grown up added very little Anderson nostalgia.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Three brothers, Francis, Peter and Jack have not been in touch or seen each other for a year but have decided they need to bond and find themselves again so they set off on an adventure across India. The brothers meet on the Darjeeling Limited train and soon find they have a lot to catch up on. Francis is the older brother and he likes to take charge and boss the others around so he has a full itinerary for the whole trip which does not impress either Peter or Jack.
We learn that the brothers lost touch after the death of their father and are struggling to come to terms with it, more so as their mother left when they were only young. The bonding does not get off to a good start with secrets being kept from Francs.
Will the brothers be able to bond and will they be able to discover themselves? Just where is the Darjeeling Limited going to take them in the end?
There was something which appealed about this film when I read about it and I was looking forward to watching as I was lead to believe that it was a comedy. I have to say both me and hubby were left very disappointed by it. The idea behind the story was very good and it had a lot of potential but for m e it was not delivered very well and I would have liked a bit more depth rather than the flat characters we got to see.
Owen Wilson played the role of eldest brother Francis and he did a decent job. His appearance was strange as he had been in a car accident so his head was all bandaged up and for me it did not seem to fit in with the storyline and I felt he just looked stupid. He was a good strong person but there was a complete lack of chemistry between his role and those of his brothers. The brothers were played by Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman and I think they both did a slightly better job. They seemed more at ease together and did actually look like brothers.
Some of the supporting actors included, Amara Karan, Wallace Wolodarsky and Camilla Rutherford and they did decent job with their character but none of them really stood out as anything special.
The film was shown on the Comedy channel so I was expecting it to be funny, unfortunately it was not. There were no times during the whole film when either me or hubby had a good laugh, we did have a giggle at one or two things but this missed the funny stakes by a mile. For me the film was more touching and soulful towards the end and not in the slightest bit funny and I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was not classed as a comedy so I would not have been disappointed.
As this story is set on the Darjeeling Limited Train which travels across India we got some beautiful and amazing shots of the scenery. There is a lot of the film which is shot on the train but when we do get to see outside we get some very beautiful shots indeed. The inside of the train where the brothers were living was very basic and this is just what I would have imagined it to have been like, I am glad they kept it basic and not modernised t as this gave us a very authentic feel. The costumes were good and I loved the details which went into the Indian dress and found it looked great. The music had a good Indiana feel and I found this all fitted very well into the film.
As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to speak about. The running time of the film is 91 minutes and I found this to be quite long enough. The film has a 15 rate and I agree with this.
I can only give this film 3/5 stars as I was very let down by it as I expected to have a good laugh, If I had known it was not funny I would have be able to enjoy it for the meaning the story had. The scenery it one of the reasons I have given this 3 and not 2 stars as it really is amazing at time. This is definitely a film to catch on the TV and not pay good money on.
*Film only review*
Some films are love stories - boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy gets together with girl (after a range of mild ups and downs). Some films are war stories, some are adventure stories, some recount great stories from history. But there is the occasional, special film that comes along that does not seem to have any story at all. It sounds like a bad thing: but when done beautifully, and delicately, and carefully, it can result in the creation of such a wonderful alternative world that you do not care at all about the lack of plot. Welcome to the world of the Darjeeling Limited.
The Darjeeling Limited is a 2007 film from famously quirky director Wes Anderson, and is in essence a character study of three brothers on a journey of self discovery through India on the train of the title. These brothers cover pretty much the whole spectrum of dysfunctionality: Peter (Adrien Brody) is a pill popping hypochondriac terrified by his wife's recently discovered pregnancy; Jack (Jason Schwartzman) is a struggling author mooning after his ex-girlfriend; and Francis (Owen Wilson, playing entirely against type) is a dappy control freak who appears swathed in bandages after a motorcycle accident. The root to the problems of all three lies in the death of their father a year previously, and in their abandonment by their mother throughout their lives. All three are loaded down with a huge amount of baggage, both literally and metaphorically.
From the point where the three brothers meet on the train, there is some sort of vague plot progression. The brothers go to temples seeking enlightenment, they argue with the steward of the train, they buy a pet snake and then lose it, they go looking for something important in a convent. But this is not really what the film is about. It is about how three troubled brothers meet, and travel, and change, and come to a new understanding of each other, all set against the vibrant backdrop of India. And there are many reasons why, despite the lack of plot, this is a film that really deserves to be watched.
Firstly, there is the characterisation and the accompanying performances. This is a film with, in essence, three isolated characters, with only occasional intrusions from the rest of the world. If these characters were poorly written then the film would be a nightmare, but instead each of the brothers is an absolute masterpiece, complicated and flawed and filled with tics and quirks. These characters have then been placed in the hands of three incredibly talented actors and brought to glorious, realistic life. It makes such a refreshing change to sit and watch a film and to support characters who feel so real, even if exaggerated, rather than the two dimensional stereotypes that we so often receive. As well as good performances in the three lead roles, there are notable performances from Amara Karan as the stewardess Rita and Waris Aluwhalia as the Chief Steward, and a little spice is added by famous faces Bill Murray and Angelica Huston in small roles. But the focus on just three lead characters means that you get to know these characters very well indeed.
Secondly there is the cinematography, with the central relationships of the film set against the vibrant backdrop of India. This is an aspect of the film which has received criticism from some quarters: however, as someone who knows very little about India I found the bright colours and scenes absolutely captivating. Perhaps what people need to remember is that the world of this film isn't supposed to be entirely accurate - it is reality as seen through Wes Anderson's crazy eyes, and so although not always a precise, considered comment on modern India, this does not stop the film being fascinating and often incredibly beautiful.
A third part of the film which deserves to be mentioned is the soundtrack - a wacky mixture of Indian and Indian-inspired music, English/American pop and a few random French songs. At first this strikes you as slightly peculiar, but despite the lack of continuity in the soundtrack each song matches so perfectly the situation involved that you can't help embracing the weirdness.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, there is the mood of the film. It was billed on release as a comedy, and in a way it is, but not in the obvious, crude slapstick style of such recent films as Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The humour is wry and very subtle, with much of it only picked up on a second viewing. But this humour is a healthy antidote to the darker elements of the film, the examinations of how people can grow apart and the mess that we can so easily make of our lives. The combination of laughter, quirky behaviour and serious comment means that you come away from the film smiling, but also very thoughtful.
I wouldn't recommend the Darjeeling Limited to everyone, as I think it is a film that suits certain personalities and moods better than others. Over the 91 minutes there is very little that actually happens, and many will find the pace too slow for their tastes. But if you can get past expecting this to be like any other film, you will realise that in a quiet, dry way the Darjeeling Limited has an awful lot to say for itself. You will laugh a few times, and quite possibly go slightly dewy eyed at times. It may be a slow ride: but it is an engaging, beautifully acted and wonderful one all the same.
Darjeeling Limited (2007
Director: Wes Anderson
Actors including: Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson
Duration: 91 minutes
Thank you for reading :)
This is the tale of three brothers played by Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody. Anjelica Houston stars as their mother, we get a small role by Irfan khan along with a Cameo by Bill Murray. This cameo sets the tone for the film because he is reknowned of late for being very silent, yet dry. This carries across to the three brothers. Apart from Owen Wilson's regular outbursts, they are mostly quite strange and odd-acting.
They basically set out on a spiritual quest to discover themselves in India and spend majority of the film on a train, hence the name. In a nutshell this is the plot really, it basically though attempts to be more of an in-depth exploration into the dynamics between the brothers.
It is quite funny in parts, but not overly so and the sights and sounds of India are looked at quite well. There is an overriding sense though that this is more of a gimmick and I was not impressed with this overall unfortunately.
It had all the right elements there and the inclusion of Schwartzman did not pay the dividends that it should of done. I don't know what the director was thinking, maybe the intention was to create a movie that exists rather than lives. The humour does not quite surface like it does do in a film like" Rushmore" for example.
Strangely though I'll probably find myself watching this again. This is because it has the shine of quality but not the right content. Also this will be in the hope that I missed something amongst the collection of images.
The Darjeeling Limited
Patricia Whitman seems to have a normal everyday life, she lives in America with her husband and three sons, Francis, Peter and Jack. Suddenly she ups sticks to the edge of the Himalayas in India. When her husband suddenly dies she doesn't even return for his funeral.
Following the funeral the son's go their separate ways for a year then each separately receives an invite to India to see their mother who is now known as 'Sister Patricia'. The three brothers each board the Darjeeling Limited train in Jodphur with schedules prepared by Sister Patricia's assistant Brendan.
During the journey each brother has some strange and enlightening experiences, they are forced to leave the train and make the journey to surprise their mother overground.
Owen Wilson ... Francis L. Whitman
Adrien Brody ... Peter L. Whitman
Jason Schwartzman ... Jack L. Whitman
Amara Karan ... Rita
Wallace Wolodarsky ... Brendan
Waris Ahluwalia ... The Chief Steward
Irrfan Khan ... The Father
Barbet Schroeder ... The Mechanic
Camilla Rutherford ... Alice
Bill Murray ... The Businessman
Anjelica Huston ... Sister Patricia Whitman
Mr. A.P. Singh ... Taxi Driver (as A.P. Singh)
Kumar Pallana ... Old Man
Dalpat Singh ... Waiter
Trudy Matthys ... German Lady
Like many of Wes Anderson's films you will either love this or hate it, it is a neurotic journey where the three brothers all seek enlightenment and their brother, but each has their own inadequacies and idiosyncrasies which make the journey difficult for them all.
I have to admit I had mixed feelings about this film, the chemistry between the three brothers is mixed, Wilson is a control freak as the character of Francis and his demeanour is sad and weary which is quite interesting and a departure from some of his more recent films, Brody is much more stand offish whilst Schwartzmann is a real bag of emotions as he is in all Anderson films.
The film looks amazing and the director uses his own quirky world view to make the most of the stunning backdrops, as with all Anderson films, the plot falls by the wayside at times and where it really succeeds is in characterisations and development of relationships.
I think the film is excellent but flawed, its a real collectors piece simply for its looks, its substance is quickly forgotten as is the case with most of this directors films.
The DVD is available on Play.com for £4.99 and includes:
* Short film - 'Hotel Chevalier'
* Behind the scenes documentary
The Darjeeling Limited is a film about three brothers who don't get along very well and haven't been in touch with each other since the death of their father go on a train trip through India together. Each brother has his own reason for going on this trip and these reasons are all different. Honesty is a big theme in this movie but the brothers, at least in the beginning, are not honest with each other about their reasons for wanting to travel through India.
Owen Wilson plays Francis, the oldest brother. Francis is bossy and overbearing to the point of ordering for each of the brothers in the train's restaurant and deciding what each one should do with every minute of their time. He is covered in bandages due to what he says is an accident. Francis is leading his brothers on this trip in order to go and find their mother in a convent. However, he doesn't admit this to his brothers from the very beginning because he knows they wouldn't go along with him if they knew about this plan.
Adrien Brody plays Peter, a character I took an instant dislike to due to his overwhelming selfishness. He is going on this trip to deal with his mixed feelings about the fact that his wife is 7 1/2 months pregnant and he is thinking of leaving her as he cannot imagine being a father. However, he doesn't even bother to tell his wife that he is going to India. We later learn that the baby means more to him than he let on at first, however this doesn't excuse his awful behaviour. He also takes items that belonged to his father without sharing them with the other brothers.
Jason Schwartzmann plays Jack, the funniest character because he seems to be obsessed by women and is probably seeking the love he never got from his family by chasing after them. His ex-girlfriend is still after him but he decides to seduce the beautiful Indian train stewardess. This is probably to the dismay of the steward who, it is hinted, is the stewardess's boyfriend and who, for this reason and for their drug abuse, ends up kicking them off the train.
After they leave the train a tragedy occurs that the brothers are part of and this is when they come together and really start trusting and loving each other again. They also do find their mother but whether this reunion is all they had hoped for is a question I will leave open until you see the film.
There are some beautiful scenes of the Indian countryside and culture including a dream-like sequence that takes place during a funeral, and beautiful landscapes that fly by out of the window of the train.
The train itself is very luxurious and this is not terribly realistic perhaps. I have traveled myself in trains thoughout Indian and even the first class compartments did not look like the ones in this movie. It is also not realistic that the train stewardess and others dotted red powder on the brothers foreheads when serving them food and drinks. This certainly never happened to me in India when I was there, at least.
This film is supposed to treat heavy themes like coming to terms with the death of their father, finding themselves and each other and their mother and learning to trust and love each other again. However, the funny thing is that the film is actually quite light and humourous overall. This is a particularity of director Wes Anderson who directed this film and also Rushmore, the Royal Tennenbaums, and others. This is perhaps not his best effort but it is worth watching nonetheless, especially for those interested in India or just looking for a laugh.
There are cameo appearances by some very well known actors such as Anjelica Houston, Bill Murray and Natalie Portman that are fun to spot as well.
note: also appears on The Student Room and Flixster
Although this review might convince you otherwise, I am quite a fan of Wes Anderson - his films Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums I found extremely funny, but here, with The Darjeeling Limited, it felt as though something was off, and perhaps Anderson has gotten a little too big for his breeches.
The film revolves around three brothers, Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman), who are reuniting after having not seen each other for a while to bury their father. They meet on a train in India called the Darjeeling Limited, and although the two younger brothers don't know this, Francis has arranged for them to meet up with their estranged mother also.
Whilst I feel that Anderson's talents lend quite well to this sort of spiritual, family-orientated material, to me it just feels like an indulgent misfire. So much of the film is spent doing very little, and whilst I can appreciate minimalist cinema as much as any cineaste, here it feels very forced, and as though he's hoping that beautiful scenery will substitute for narrative. It's a shame, as I really wanted to enjoy the film, but there's a very superficial depth to the film - it captures the aesthetic of India wonderfully, but is never an emotionally engaging or plausible film that's too busy being self-consciously quirky to really even bother with its premise.
An interminable, self-indulgent bore, and a devastating step down from Anderson's excellent "The Royal Tenenbaums". There are several promising moments, yet Anderson squanders them by suffocating his picture with silly quirks. It is not a film about nothing as some state, yet it is difficult to find worth in the film nevertheless, other than the fact that it effectively captures the texture of Indian culture.
I just watched this film yesterday. This is one crazy film. It was described on Sky as a drama, although I did laugh an awful lot, so it must be a comedy.
It stars Owen Wilson, Adiren Brody and Jason Shwartzman as 3 brothers who take a make or break trip of discovery through India and end up stranded in the desert. Intrestingly they all had very large noses so although they are all quite different it was more easy to belive they were brothers. It starts off normally enough with a small cameo from Bill Murray as he runs to catch the train and misses it. You don't see him again till the end, so it is a very small cameo. Natalie Portman also has a cameo, which I must have blinked and missed. The film then starts to go a bit zany from this point onwards. All three brothers seem to be addicted to one form of drugs - precription pills, indian cough syrup and some calming drops, which they immediatley swap round and all take each others as well as their own. At the start of the journey they all seem to be angry with each other and have not spoken for a year. The theme for the first part of the film is their fighting each other particularly the two younger brothes resentment of controlling brother Francis(Owen Wilson), I assumed he was the eldest. He has tried to arrange a series of spriritual adventures along the way which all end up in mayhem. He loses his shoe and Peter aquires a leathal pet snake, which eventually leads to their eviction from the train. At this point the journey does change and they seem to find the spirituality that Francis craves and it does start to bring them together.
My husband found this film a little too crazy and lost interest, but I kept with it and found it to be quite charming and entertaining. I think it would benefit from a second viewing so will try to watch it again over the next week or two.
I have not seen any of the previous Wes Anderson films, but based on this I will now give them a try. It did not come across as an over egged Hollywood type film, but had an edgier feel to it. It really did feel like a genuine road trip and the moments of comedy were naturally done (not the normal obvious slapstick of Hollywood movies). It is a tale of forgiveness and rediscovery of self and family. The rivalry of the 3 brothers was convincing and rang home ( I have a brother and a sister and we are all in our 40s, but can still have stupid arguments and get huffy with each other.). The theme of funerals runs through this film and I think that this is trying to tell you that life really is too short for all the crap that can happen in famillies. I am not at all sure what the point of Bill Murrys cameo was about, unless it was to highlight the point of missing out, as he seemed to keep missing his train.
I think this film is worth watching and the performances of the lead actors are very good. It is quirky and may not appeal to all, but should be watched with an open mind and enjoyed for the journey that the brothers go on.
We follow three estranged American brothers who decide to try and bond during a journey of self-discovery via booking a train ride across India on "The Darjeeling Limited". Needless to say, things don't exactly go as planned.
The opening scene might be one of the best I've watched in a while, very well shot and it did make me laugh a fair bit.
Having never been to India, I can't say with authority that this film captures the country well but it does feel like how I would imagine India to be like, down to the details. The scenes shot on the train especially. It is in that respect, flawless.
He does also perhaps succeed in portraying the interconnectivity of the brothers actions on other people. The one surreal scene in particular which did this, was clever and very enjoyable to watch.
The characters - the three brothers - were each very well fleshed out and well acted although their dialogue could have been better scripted on occasion.
Now for the problems. Even though it was billed as a "drama-comedy" it didn't exactly have me busting a gut. It leans more towards the drama than the comedy and the humour that is there is quite dark. They can't be entirely excused however, as it is hardly particularly memorable material either.
Many things appear to be communicated non-verbally between the characters, which I understand is all part of their brotherly bond but in fact it just makes me wonder why in the hell they're doing what they're doing.
The ending felt more like a cut off point, there were so many loose ends I was genuinely surprised the film had ended. The way it jumped on me left me with a sort of empty feeling. It just felt so unfinished. Honestly, Wes Anderson could carry on from that scene and turn it into a "complete" film without any problem whatsoever. He need only add on maybe 10 or 20 minutes but it would make all the difference.
I would recommend Little Miss Sunshine as a better alternative for a family- bonding-on-a-roadtrip type movie.
For those interested, there is a 13 minute prologue to this film entitled Hotel Chevalier featuring Natalie Portman available as a DVD extra and on Apple iTunes.
The Darjeeling Limited is one of those films that had me smiling throughout the bulk of it. It's a Wes Anderson film, whose previous flicks include Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and 2005's The Life Aquatic. Wes's films tend to meander plot-wise, feature Bill Murray, have ace soundtracks, and often leave you wondering if you enjoyed it or not.
Wes likes to feature actors with slightly weird faces, and have lots of close up shots of them, then shots of them walking in slow-motion to a cool song, preferably with all characters in formation, one behind the other. It looks good, you see. He also likes to have plots that you can't really summarise. Take Darjeeling. Essentially it's about three brothers on a train in India. If I tried to explain it anymore I'd spoil its occasional twists and turns, and would run out of space for this review. Wes also has a weird knack of making a 90 minute film feel like it's been on for a ga-jillion hours.
All of the above makes it sound like I dislike his films. I don't, but I am wary when approaching them. Darjeeling features all of Wes's usual traits, but the reason for my almost constant smile is down to three little words. Owen, Jason and Adrien. That'd be Wilson, Schwartzman and Brody. As the three leads these guys are just pure brilliance, and putting them together as squabbling, peculiar brothers was a genius move.
Owen's character is overly organised, bossy and a bit anal, although impressed me with his travel planning. Jason Schwartzman plays a sombre writer with impulsive behaviour and lady problems, while Adrian Brody is the tall, slightly broody and emotional sibling. All three have amazing noses (see previous comment on Wes liking weird faces) and gel together so well on screen you can easily see them as brothers. The film wavers in tone between comedic and melancholic, with a few unexpected flashes of excitement, and some giggly moments of fun that makes the whole thing a pleasure to observe.
My only gripe, aside from a reasonably pointless short film used as an opener (watch out for Natalie Portman's ribs - seriously disturbing) is the ga-jillion hour factor, with the film seemingly coming to an end but then motoring on for another few hours (or maybe twenty minutes or so). It was just enough to make my smile fade. The Darjeeling Limited is oddball, quirky, and any other clichéd adjective you want to throw in there to describe a film that's different to the norm. But it's certainly worth watching.
Firstly, let me say that this film has nothing to do with tea. The Darjeeling Limited is actually a train!!
The Darjeeling Limited is a film from 2007 directed by Wes Anderson, and starring Adrian Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman. They play Francis, Jack and Peter Whitman, three long lost brothers who haven't seen each other for a year, but Francis (Wilson) decided after their father's recent death that its about time they all got together again and reforged the brotherly bonds.
Francis is the one that arranges the journey on The Darjeeing Limited, but extremely controlling and regimental - I think he feels like his life is in turmoil after the death of his father and he is desperate to keep things under control. This shows through in the painfully detailed daily itinerary he constructs for the trip, and the way he steals his brother's passport to prevent him from leaving the trip of his own accord.
Peter (Brody) deals with his grief in another way - but using his father's things. Throughout the film we see him wearing his dad's prescription sunglasses - even though they are too strong for him and he probably can't see a thing out of them. He also carries his dad's keys. I get the feeling he is doing this to try and convince himself that his dad is still around in some form, perhaps living through himself. The fact that he has these things angers the eldest, Francis, as he see's the fact that Peter has some of their fathers things but Francis doesn't have (or didnt think to take) anything. I think there is a bit of jealousy here, Francis being the eldest always wants to be the best, the one in charge, the one in control.
Jack (Schwartzman) is the youngest, he writes short stories that depict scenes in his own life but is adamant that his characters are fictional. Perhaps he feels he can deal with his grief more if he writes his life down on paper. He has an on/off relationship with Natalie Portman, and is obsessed with checking her answering machine messages at every train stop.
The plot of the film revolves around the brother's spiritual journey on this train, but halfway through they get thrown off the train for bringing a poisonous snake on board. This is when Francis confesses that the real point of him bringing them together was to go and see their mother, who has become a Nun in a convent in the foothills of the Himilayas.
I wont tell you much more about the plot as that would spoil it! This film left me feeling a bit confused at the end, I wasn't really sure what the point of it was, or what it was trying to say. The acting was good, all parts were played well, but it wasn't as funny as I thought it was going to be. In fact it was more of a drama than a comedy. I wouldn't have been too impressed if I had paid out a lot of money to buy the dvd, as it is not much of a memorable film. In fact I think I would say the most memorable thing about it was the locations where it was shot, some of the scenery was breathtaking and it really was of a high visual quality.
There is a short film you can watch before the start of the film, this shows Jack in a hotel room which he has been living in when his on / off girlfriend shows up. Its only about 10 minutes long, and I'm not too sure what the reason for it was!
Three brothers, Francis, Peter and Jack, go on a trip to India together after having not spoken for some considerable time. Francis, who arranges the trip, hopes that this will bring them together - there is much bad feeling between them since the death of their father and their mother's decision to become a nun. Initially, Peter and Jack are very reluctant to commit to Francis' plans, angry at his bossiness. Then they get thrown off the train (The Darjeeling Limited of the title) because of suspected drug use, and end up wandering the Indian countryside. Then someone is involved in an accident; the brothers try to help. Will it bring them closer together? Or is the rift between them too wide to bridge?
I am always interested in films that portray other countries, and so was eager to watch this film. The fact that Owen Wilson plays the lead role was also an incentive; I don't consider him to be a particularly good actor, but I have a soft spot for him, probably because of his recent troubles. As Francis, he initially makes a strange impression. Having recently had a car accident, his head is bandaged up, which makes it hard to see his facial expressions. I'm not sure that this really made any difference though! Francis is the most annoying of the brothers; as the eldest, he is very bossy and a little bit patronising. I thought Wilson was good enough in the role. It isn't one that I am going to remember him for though. He does bring a little bit of comedy into what is otherwise a fairly serious film, but probably not enough.
The strongest performance probably came from Adrien Brody. I'm not that familiar with him as an actor - King Kong is the only film I can remember seeing him in. However, as Peter, he seems to be the character with the most depth. He has left behind his wife, who is about to give birth. Seemingly uncaring, we find out during the course of the film that the baby means more to him than he is letting on. I thought it was a sensitive performance by Brody, not a particularly memorable one, but certainly more than adequate. Jason Schwartzman, who plays Jack, gives a good performance, one that also injects a bit of comedy into the film. He seems to be unable to keep his bits in his trousers and makes a play for the Indian train hostess. Again, it is not a memorable performance, but it is more than good enough for what is needed. Schwartzman also has a role in what is called Part 1 of The Darjeeling Limited - a short film that is on the disc before the main feature starts. I initially thought this was a joke - it is simply Jack in a hotel room when one of his lovers, played by Natalie Portman, arrives unexpectedly. I wasn't all that sure what the point of this was; thankfully, it was over in just a few minutes.
There were also a couple of brief performances by well-known actors worth a mention. Bill Murray appears right at the beginning of the main feature, trying to catch the train that the brothers are on. This is all we see of him, so quite what the point of him appearing at all is beyond me. Then Anjelica Huston appears as the boys' mother. I would have loved to have seen more of her, but the role is very brief. It is interesting to see the relationship she has with her sons though, and it does help to make sense of their behaviour.
The best thing about this film is that it is beautifully filmed. I really enjoyed the visual side of it, whether it is on board the train, which is a fascinating glimpse into Indian life, or when they are wandering around the countryside, when we get to see how the locals live. Of course, most of it is probably staged, but it still looks good, with lots of vivid colours. There is one point towards the end when we are shown snapshots of the lives of all the people involved in the film, filmed as if each of them is in a separate carriage on the train (even though a couple of them are back in the US). I thought this was very well done, and something for which director Wes Anderson should be commended.
On to the negatives. This is one of those films that, for me, didn't really have a great deal of meaning. It is all about the brothers going on a spiritual journey to find themselves. This is all a bit too neat and tidy for me. If only I had known before succumbing to clinical depression and a breakdown that all I had needed to do was go away and 'find' myself! Life just isn't that easy. I am perhaps being harsh, but I did feel that the whole concept was a bit patronising. It is also a little bit dull at times - much of the film is focussed on the brothers' relationship, but once you have established that Francis is the bossy one, Peter is the sensitive one and Jack is the promiscuous one, there isn't much of interest left to find out. I do like films that concentrate on the characters and their relationships; I just didn't think that the characters here were well-developed enough to fill out a whole film.
Apart from the short film that precedes the main feature, there is also a couple of special features. One is a documentary about the production side of the film. This is only likely to be of interest for people interested in the technical side of film-making, because it delves into how the set was put together, and how the actors worked around the set. Then there is a slew of trailers for other Fox Entertainment films, including Rescue Dawn (Christian Bale) and The Savages (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
This is an okay film, and is worth watching for the visual side of things. As a story, however, I didn't really get it. It was just not exciting enough for me, and, as mentioned, I found it all a little bit patronising and self-indulgent on the part of writers Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. Of course, everyone will take something different away from it, so that isn't necesssarily a reason not to watch. On the whole though, I'm not sure I would recommend spending a lot of money for the DVD; it is probably worth waiting for it to be shown on television.
The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.
Classification: 15 (for non-graphic sex scenes)
Running time: 91 minutes
The Darjeeling limited is a gentle drama/comedy which starts on a train in India named 'The Darjeeling Limited', and is written by Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola. It is Directed by Wes Anderson.
The story tells of three brothers who come from a wealthy family and who haven't seen each other since the death of their Father a year ago.
Francis Whitman (Owen Wilson) is the the eldest of the three and has got them all together to go on a spiritual trip of self-discovery after having a car crash. He wants them to go and see their Mother who has become a Nun. He has brought his assistant along to organise the trip as it is very regimented.
Peter Whitman (Adrien Brody) is the second brother who although married and expecting a baby is convinced his marriage will end in divorce.
Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman) is the youngest. He seems to be obsessed with his ex, and at every stop he checks her answering machine messages.
As the story goes on they fight between themselves and end up getting kicked off the train and so their journey begins...
This film was a really good story of the three, who are depressed and drug addicted and I enjoyed the way the three main characters all worked well together. I liked the way part of the fim was told in flashbacks as this gave a back story to the characters.
Wilson, Brody, and Schwartzman were convincing as the brothers still in mourning for their Father and I enjoyed watching this film as it wasn't what I expected to find coming from Owen Wilson. It had a gentle comedy and wasn't laugh out loud.
I liked the way they were fighting amongst themselves and then they came together and got closer as the story went along. I thought it was funny how when one brother told another one something about the third and then said but don't tell him and then the third found out showed how they were like a typical family.
I would watch this fim again as I thought the acting was great and the quiet humour was really good. I thoroughly recommend this film to anyone.
Director: Wes Anderson
Writesr: Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Genre: Comedy - Adventure - Drama
Released: 7th April, 2008 (DVD)
Owen Wilson (Francis L. Whitman)
Adrien Brody (Peter L. Whitman)
Jason Schwartzman (Jack L. Whitman)
Francis, the eldest of three brothers from a wealthy family, decides to bring his brothers together on a 'spiritually' awakening trip to India. The brothers, who haven't spoken to each other since their father's death, begin their awkward trip aboard 'The Darjeeling Limited', a train that will carry them across India where their planned agenda will take them to 'spiritually' awakening tourist hotspots. Unfortunately, the brothers, who were abandoned by their mother years earlier and left to be raised by a henpecking Francis and their obscure father, encounter problems along the way that have much to do with their pent-up hostility towards each other and Francis's pushy nature.
There 'spiritually' awakening trip takes a turn for the worse when the brothers literally come to blows, and they are escorted off the train by the harassed train guard who has had more than enough of their boisterous behaviour, obsessive abuse of over-the-counter pain killers and cough syrup, their reckless smuggling aboard of an extremely poisonous snake which ended up getting out of its box, and the youngest brother's seduction of the guard's girlfriend and subsequent sexual tryst in the train's public toilet.
Stranded in the middle of the desert with a mountain of matching luggage, the brothers embark on an unplanned journey that just might be the 'spiritual' awakening they've been searching for.
'The Darjeeling Limited' is one of those oddball cinematic creations that isn't exactly what the viewer is expecting... in fact, it isn't at all what the viewer expects. It isn't a 'spiritual' road trip (or, in this case, train trip) movie, not quite a comedy, not strictly a drama, and far from an adventure... it's a mishmash of this and that and the other thing, and it takes a while to decide whether or not you're actually enjoying the movie. The word 'oddball' pretty much sums it all up when forced to describe the movie.
First of all, I would like to say that the movie's visual aspect is striking, and India's magnificent countryside with its hectic cities, charming villages and sparsely populated desert has been taken advantage of to its fullest, creating an atmosphere that is so intrinsically Indian that you can almost catch a whiff of the spices wafting off of the screen... even the train scenes possess that 'exotic' quality to them that are pleasing to the eye and appear so incredibly real that the viewer can almost feel the heat wafting in from the desert, the claustrophobia-inducing tightness of the compartment the brothers' share aboard the train, and the strain and tension induced by too close a proximity of characters that would rather be anywhere else but aboard a train heading for God only knows where... the scenery, the camera shots, the atmosphere, everything comes together so brilliantly that the viewer can actually 'experience' the movie.
The acting is brilliant, definitely one of Owen Wilson's best performances, and no doubt due to the fact that he wasn't expected to dish out the comedy and milk it. Owen is a decent actor who possesses a childlike quality to him that is endearing, and the ability to shoulder comedy without having to actually carry it is something he does very well. When placed in situations where he is forced to dish out the comedy, like in the movie 'Drillbit Taylor', you can bet the movie will be a flop. However, match him up with a 'real' comedian, and he's the perfect sidekick.
Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman give a great performance as the awkward and troubled brothers who have endured their older brother's henpecking and pushiness for far too long, and are now on the precipice of an outburst that promises fireworks... however, although the tension leads the viewer to expect the worst, the storyline isn't one of anger and resentment, it's one of forgiveness, understanding and brotherly love. 'The Darjeeling Limited' is a study in masculine emotions that, although it often gives way to humour, is incredibly endearing.
The brothers are all struggling, to certain extents, with some sort of addiction or other, painkillers, cough syrups, women, all of these either fill an empty void or bring comfort in there own way. Beneath their individual eccentric facades, they share the same hurt... their mother's abandonment of them, and their father's untimely death. The viewer senses their turmoil, sees their shared similarities, their qualities and their flaws, and can't help but like them all regardless of their shortcomings. The humour aspect is due, in large part, to their awkward bungling, and is mostly a result of their lives getting out of hand... which is what makes it all so appealing. There are no in-your-face jokes or attempts to be funny... what there is are scenes that allow life to take its course and to turn it, invariably, into something quite amusing. The characters don't provoke the comedy, the comedy comes to them. They are hapless puppets aboard a train that will never take them to their intended destination.
'The Darjeeling Limited' is a nice little movie, not extraordinarily fascinating or even 100% entertaining, but it has the power to string you along for the full 91 minutes. This is the type of movie you're never quite certain you actually enjoyed. The one thing I know for certain is that I loved the soundtrack to this movie... some of the songs brought back some wonderful memories... however, unless, like me, you were brought up on the likes of Debussy and Dassin who belted out some incredibly beautiful French songs, you might not even be certain of whether or not you liked the music either!
The Darjeeling Limited is the first film of Director Wes Anderson's that I've watched.. at least to my knowledge. The film stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. I was looking for something to review and my wife is a huge Adrien Brody fan ever since he came to Warsaw to film The Pianist, so I thought I'd give her a rest from the goofball American range I'd been watching.
The Darjeeling Limited has a few themes throughout - running for trains, drinking cough medicine and bickering between three brothers who are supposed to be finding themselves spirtiaully following their father's funeral and going in search of their mother who isn't a particularly warm person and doesn't seem to want to know her. The dialogue is slow and isn't particularly witty, in fact the three of them are really quite depressed but a bit of humour does come through occasionally.
The filming is pretty good, quite artistic and the trio really look quite awkward with short moustached Jack (Schwartzman) who looks straight out of the 70s, a gangly Peter (Brody) who seems to be wearing a suit too large for him and enormous glasses so he looks like a cross between Jarvis Cocker and John Lennon and finally the irritable, head bandaged Francis (Owen Wilson) who seems to be the oldest and most succesful of the brothers, has set a strict itinerary and is generally bossing them around.
Peter and Jack don't really want to be there and the three brothers bickering and general obnoxiousness seems to get them kicked off the train in the middle of nowhere, where they wind up in a couple of bizarre situations. The ending is ambiguous but the filming remains symbolic. Make of it what you will, it's definitely not a bad film, the filming is excellent and we get our fair share of Ambassadors and Indian landscape. It doesn't really set the world alight though and compared to a more recent film set in India (Slumdog Millionaire) it doesn't stand out at all.