Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Case for Great Train Journeys through India

A wealthy, fractured, odd-ball family get together to bond.

Sounds like
the Royal Tenanbaums, and it is. But it is also the Darjeeling Limited, which is the latest film by Wes Anderson who was also responsible for the Tenanbaum film. However, this time, the dysfunctional family members are traversing India in search of their mother and themselves.

Of course, the spiritual journey itself takes back seat to the bizarre antics of the three brothers and the various characters they encounter on their journey. The main movie was preceded by a short "prequel' with the stunning Nathalie Portman in a strange encounter with Jason Schwartzman. Considering he co-wrote the film, perhaps it is not surprising that his character was the one that "encountered" all the gorgeous women on this particular voyage of discovery.

As I write this, I seem to be getting more disillusioned with the film. While I liked the Royal Tenanbaums, and enjoy the humour of both of that film as well as this one, I don't think I was hugely enamoured with either of them. They are amusing, whimsical, slow, and have some incredible cameos and performances. But overall, they are wafers of films, thin and light and fairly forgettable afterwards, the Darjeeling Limited all the moreso. There are no great moments, no startling insights. Just a slow unwinding of amusing scenes linked by a shared journey of quite off-the-wall characters.

So I won't go on and on. Overall, it was a good film, entertaining, and I would recommend it to people who like the Royal Tenanbaums (or perhaps everyone, as the session I went to was quite packed and a few people in the audience - though not myself - found it all hysterical).

Verdict: A Dilmah of a Darjeeling.

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