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After three viewings of "The Darjeeling Limited" I find myself quite certain that this is not Wes Anderson's best film in the sense that it's not his best-paced film and it may have some moments that are a little too heavy-handed. However, I find that these little flaws add to the charm of the film because of the way it is constructed and written. It almost feels like one is part of the journey and since no journey of this sort is perfect or fully enjoyable it's almost fitting that this film isn't
I laughed out loud more during "The Darjeeling Limited" than during any other Wes Anderson movie, although "Rushmore" is probably more of an outright comedy. This screenplay wasn't written with Owen Wilson, as Anderson instead chose to team up with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman for this project, presumably due to Wilson being too busy to do it. The result is a slightly inconsistent (and, as mentioned before, heavy-handed) screenplay but one with loads of delicious irony, wit, and dry humor. It's great stuff, really. There is a lot of depth to be found here as well, especially with Anderson's use of recurrent imagery in the film. There is perhaps more maturity and understanding of human nature here than in any previous Wes Anderson films.
The acting is once again top-notch here from Brody, Wilson, and Schwartzman, and Anderson's use of music is again incredibly fitting and beautiful while also being perhaps less frequent and distracting than his other films, allowing less room for accusations detractors frequently make that Anderson is nothing more than a glorified music video director. Also of note while discussing music is the use of various Satyajit Ray compositions in an acknowledgment of one of his cinematic idols and main inspirations, not only for this film but in general.
"The Darjeeling Limited" demands multiple viewings. It is a rich, complex, detailed, and gorgeous film which is a unique and fascinating look at some familiar thematic material recurrent in Anderson's work. It's not a perfect film, but it's definitely one of the best films of the year.
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