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Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Anjelica Huston
Writer/director Wes Anderson has a created niche for himself, after projects like “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” and the quirky classic, “The Royal Tenenbaums”. He is known for his unconventional formula that involves peculiar characters interacting with their equally unusual friends and families. “The Darjeeling Limited” follows this path, as well, and presents fine actors playing off-the-wall characters, and a script that has some very funny bits. It gets stranger and less funny as it progresses, however, and this affected my enjoyment of it.
“The Darjeeling Limited” starts out with an optional, but connected, 10 minute short film about Jason Schwartzman’s character, Jack interacting with a former girlfriend played by Natalie Portman. Is it just me, or does Schwartzman look Tom Cruise’s non sex symbol brother? Nevertheless, I recommend watching this preceding short. But speaking of brothers, the real film opens with Jack meeting his two brothers, Francis and Peter (Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody) on a train in India, as the beginning of Francis’ plan for a family spiritual journey following a near-death experience. The brothers have some issues to sort out, and attempt to do this while working around pepper spray, poisonous snakes, romantic interludes and lots and lots of cigarettes, on their way to a big surprise that Francis has set up for them.
I am not much of a Wes Anderson fan. I find his work to be too offbeat, and that it has too little happening for my ADD movie watching tastes. I did, however find this feature to be interesting and funny enough (in some spots, damn funny) to entertain me until it got more eccentric and less funny towards the end. There are some good laughs, here, helped along by the talented cast. Anderson fans will love this and those who have not enjoyed his previous efforts would likely love to miss it. Opinions on this feature will diverge wildly according taste. Many will read this review and be saying out loud, “Maniac, you are an idiot.” I already know that.