Movie Review 2008 #37: The Darjeeling Limited

The last movie I’ve gotten to watch on my now dead DVD player, the Darjeeling Limited was directed by Wes Anderson and stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman.


Wes Anderson films are known for their quirkness, their unusual camera shots and pans, interesting soundtracks, and (oftentimes) roles large and small for Bill Murray and Angelica Huston.
The Darjeeling Limited, the story of three estranged Whittman brothers who try to bond with each other on a long train trip across India, is no exception to any of these generalizations. The story of Francis, Peter and Jack,their trip goes awry almost from the start, as they keep secrets from each other, and have misadventures with pharmaceuticals, poisonous snakes and other hazards on their long journey that Francis, the impresario for this trip, reveals is to find their mother, who has joined a convent.
With edgy relations between the brothers, quirky and often dry humor, strange situations and strange characters, The Darjeeling Limited is an enjoyable movie. The soundtrack, I don’t think is up to the fae madness of the Portugese rendition of Bowie songs in Life Aquatic…, but it holds up well.
The DVD also included the short film Hotel Chevalier, starring Schwartzman as his character Jack, and Natalie Portman as his girlfriend. (She is seen in the briefest of cameos in the feature film). The events of Hotel Chevalier are alluded to in the main film, too, showing that they are clearly set in the same movie universe.
Director Wes Anderson seems to, in terms of theme and mood, likes to hit similar chords in his films, but he manages those chords well in The Darjeeling Limited. I enjoyed it.