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Darjeeling Limited

Genre: , ,

Cast: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Wallace Wolodarsky

Director: Wes Anderson

Rated: R

Review By:
Rocco Passafuime

SUNY Purchase '05

"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore

Release Date: February 26th, 2008
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Overall Grade: B

Darjeeling Limited

Review By: Rocco Passafuime

The Darjeeling Limited

Director Wes Anderson is one of America's most unique filmmakers. His penchant for imagery and atmosphere has made brought him immense acclaim with films like Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Despite stumbling a bit with the critical and commercial disappointment The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Anderson has managed to return to form with his latest effort The Darjeeling Limited, now available on DVD.

Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) are three brothers. They are each aboard the train The Darjeeling Limited traveling through India and after running into each other, they decide to together go on a "spiritual journey".

As the journey wears on, it's revealed that it's the first time they have been together in a year since the death of their father. As they take drugs and explore all that India has to offer, the three brothers bond together as they search for their mother (Anjelica Huston), a missionary, to reconnect with her after she fails to show up at their father's funeral.

After the failure of Life Aquatic, Wes Anderson has managed to pick himself up again with The Darjeeling Limited. While the story runs the risk of bordering on the cerebral and self-indulgent, particularly a concern for those largely unfamiliar with Anderson's previous works, the film is undoubtedly buoyed by its strengths despite this.

Anderson, as a director, once again manages to craft a film with a great atmospheric slow-burn. With this one, it manages to work particularly well here in the exotic and rustic Indian settings.

As far as the story and characters go, the brothers in the film, while on the surface have the typical decadence and dysfunction of the Anderson archetype, also exhibit a unique warmth as the film wears on. This is further strengthened considerably by Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Anderson regular Owen Wilson, who each all deliver fantastically eloquent performances.

The DVD's picture quality is in the 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound quality is in the Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. The DVD also includes a pair of special features.

The first is the Anderson-directed short film Hotel Chavalier, which was originally the prologue of the movie. It essentially acts as background for Jason Schwartzman's character as he encounters his ex (Natalie Portman) in a hotel room.

Hotel Chavalier works absolutely perfectly as a short film and makes a great bonus. It has an interesting "Catcher In The Rye"-like quality to it, despite all the lurid brouhaha during the film's release regarding Portman's nude scenes in the short. Rounding out the special features is the featurette "Behind The Scenes Walking Tour of The Darjeeling Limited", which is shot in a very fascinating and unique documentary style and features an in-depth look at some of the filming process.

All in all, while it doesn't reach the heights of Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson manages

to craft another atmospheric, character-driven tale centered on family bonding. The film's three main actors are all excellent here and its Indian settings captured by the director prove to make for a consistently elliptical, yet overall strangely fascinating film.

Movie Grade: B

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: B

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