Plot: Three American brothers, who haven’t seen each other in a year, reunite in India on a train ride aboard the Darjeeling Limited, which they hope will lead to a spiritual journey and once again being a close family.
Who’s it for: Wes Anderson fans. And even in that case, I think you’ll be slightly disappointed. It is definitely more drama than comedy. Though I am sure the DVD will offer brilliant insight from Anderson.
Expectations: I’m still bitter about Bill Murray not winning (or even being nominated for) an Oscar for “Rushmore.” Also, I really liked “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and thought “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” was OK.
Owen Wilson as Francis: If your favorite Wilson character is Dignan from “Bottle Rocket,” then you’ll be treated to a milder version with Francis. As the self-elected group leader, and mastermind of the entire trip, he attempts to always be in control, though he rarely brings out any confidence with his two brothers.
Jason Schwartzman as Jack: There is no explanation for Jack being shoeless. It’s just there to observe. His best moment comes when he loads up the Mace to stop his brothers from fighting, it’s also the fastest-paced moment of the entire movie.
Adrien Brody as Peter: The glasses are an interesting prop for Peter, and all the other things he steals and borrows add a nice layer. But beyond the quirks, we never really get a sense of who he is.
Talking: All of the really good lines belong to Wilson’s Francis, except when Peter utters, “I always expected to get divorced, so children just complicate things.” Anderson is always good at playing with language, but “Darjeeling” is on the cusp of laughing out loud yet never gets there.
Sights and sounds: The technical prowess of Wes Anderson is still top-notch, with the best example being the train showcasing all of the characters at the end. The problem is that there isn’t much to go along with the cinematography. And yes, that is Natalie Portman at the end. If you want to see more of that character along with Jack you need to check it out on the Web under “Hotel Chevalier.”
It was my least favorite Wes Anderson film, or maybe it was a tie with “The Life Aquatic.” I haven’t made up my mind completely. It’s almost a film where it’s more important to watch the character quirks than to care about the story. I say almost because there is a very powerful moment where Peter attempts to save a village boy. It just comes after a long time of thinking of these brothers as pure fiction. Being odd is amusing to watch, but when it’s tied to losing someone it’s just not as funny, and by the time Angelica Huston makes an appearance any connection seems lost. “The Darjeeling Limited” isn’t just a hard title to pronounce, it’s a tough movie to love.
Overall Grade: 6