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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
When deciding whether or not to see this film, the question is very simple: Do you like Wes Anderson's previous work? If you answered yes to this question, you will adore The Darjeeling Limited. If you answered no, you'd better spend your money elsewhere. I personally, fall very deeply into the former category. I've always been a huge Anderson fan and adore all four of his previous efforts, and this certainly ranks among his best (top three, easily). This is a much more guided, inspirational and personal work from the man. While his other features have been more minimalistic and set between a certain group of characters, Darjeeling takes on a much larger world.
The story is about three estranged brothers, Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman). About one year ago their father died and they went their different ways. Of course, nothing can start off too happy in a Wes Anderson world. Francis attempted suicide (the irony is painful), Peter is having a baby with his wife Alice who he always thought he would divorce and Jack is trying to get over a rough break up (some inside jokes for those who have seen Hotel Chevalier are included). Francis decides to reunite these brothers on a spiritual journey across India, via train, and everything happens to go horribly wrong.
The chaos that ensues is quirky, hilarious and utterly perfect for fans of Anderson like myself. The performances from the three leads are brilliant, particularly Adrien Brody whom I thought was going to be out of his Oscar-winning element but actually fit in so well that I preferred him to the rest of the cast. There is a huge turn into a more somber mood about halfway through that brings up memories of Luke Wilson's big scene in The Royal Tenenbaums (nobody tries to commit suicide, mind you) and the film picks up on the dramatic sentiment before jolting right back into the uniquely brilliant world that always keeps my sides in stitches. The man's genius is as strong as ever. This may be his best film and it's certainly his most poignant.
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