The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Director:  Wes Anderson
Cast:  Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray
Plot:  Three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other - to become brothers again like they used to be.

Genre:  Adventure / Comedy / Drama
Awards:  Won Little Golden Lion (Venice).
Runtime:  91min
Rating:  NC16 for language.

Is Wes Anderson really that good?  Yes, he's one of the more promising directors around. But for the mainstream viewers, his works are an acquired taste.  Judging from his latest independent effort, The Darjeeling Limited, it's evident that there’s talent in him. 

Technically sound and competent, Anderson shows his skills here with the camera.  He employs techniques like slow-motion capture (in key scenes featuring the main characters catching up with and boarding a departing train), and panning movements which concentrate on a talking person before moving on to another without cuts.

Two standout aspects of The Darjeeling Limited are its creative and fluid use of the camera (as briefly mentioned above), as well as its settings.  The latter is commendable because exotic locations of India are scouted perfectly, highlighting the unique cultural dimension of the film.  

Anderson's film can be termed lightly as a visual spiritual journey, though its comedic undertones have a heavy resonance throughout the picture.  It's an eye-opener for viewers, who will be able to witness the sights and sounds of one of Asia’s culturally-richest societies.

Sometimes, it feels a drag to watch the film, especially in the final third when the story exhausts itself, leaving the trio of Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman alone to pursue after a lost cause.  The Darjeeling Limited does not impress as much as I would like, but it is still capable of leaving an aftertaste that’s at the very least satisfactory, albeit one with an emotional void.


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