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A year after the accidental death of their father, three brothers -- each suffering from depression - meet for a train trip across India. Francis, the eldest, has organized it. The brothers argue, sulk, resent each other, and fight. The youngest, Jack, estranged from his girlfriend, is attracted to one of the train's attendants. Peter has left his pregnant wife at home, and he buys a venomous snake. After a few days, Francis discloses their surprising and disconcerting destination. Amid foreign surroundings, can the brothers sort out their differences? A funeral, a meditation, a hilltop ritual, and the Bengal Lancer figure in the reconciliation. Written by
After completing the screenplay's first draft, Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Jason Schwartzman visited India together to see if the fictional world they'd created meshed with the real thing. Subsequent changes were relatively minor. Much of the dialog was excised from the later passages of the film, because Wes Anderson wanted India's natural beauty to speak for itself. See more »
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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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