Sunday, December 6, 2015
Review: The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Keep the rocket sled, get rid of the fuel and the runway. Place in an unnecessary flashback in the center of the dirt path that was originally meant to function the same way that Hotel Chevalier did, and what have you got? A new ride! A somewhat boring, unsatisfying ride. Anderson already brought us the Stumble. Now he brings us the Disappointment, and a really frustrating one with how close it is to being good. You don't have to break the entire thing and reassemble from scratch, per se. Just... remove major sequences. That's all!
Roman Coppola provides an element that, I imagine, no matter what his character surrogate says, is autobiographical. Seems like the Coppola brand is to portray affluent, incestuous families who are so far up each other's asses that they are the ones creating their own hell. He also brings another oddity in a Wes Anderson film: parallel dialogue. Characters running two conversations at once in a scene way too early to call for them: the scene where we first see the brothers interact. And what could be a newly formed habit from The Life Aquatic, scenes stick around past the punch line and linger in the awkward moment. This is why the jokes work in the trailer and don't in the film.
As with Rushmore, the title is a mislead. We don't spend the entire movie confined to a train, only about half, losing out on what I can only imagine is a bunch of Wes Anderson style stratagems and characters following a strict itinerary. Though I'm not sure the same metaphor can apply... Is The Darjeeling Limited confining the characters to their own behavior? A train is on rails but can get lost! They must go off the rails in order to be truly found! Eh.
The real ending of the movie is the funeral scene, but for some reason we still have half an hour to go, jibbiting around with the mother as though we were waiting for that reunion all along. Working against the obvious luggage metaphor, the brothers don't abandon their mother in the same way; they have to be betrayed by her just one more time before they can move on, far less of a potent closure. I know the final shot states that they all finally trust each other, but how long after the safari ends before they relapse into their original behavior?