Review of 'The Darjeeling Limited'

the_darjeeling_limited.jpg Eldest brother Francis Whitman (Owen Wilson) convinces his two younger brothers Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) to take a train ride in India ostensibly to find their mother, Patricia (Anjelica Huston), who now lives in a convent. When the three are on the train, the Darjeeling Limited, however, the truth is revealed – He wants the three to bond having not been talking since the death of their father the year before. Francis has been in a motorcycle accident so relies heavily on strong Indian pain medication that the other two start taking, helping them “relax”. Francis is annoyed that Peter appears to have been taking their fathers things while Jack is having a difficult relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Peter is nervous of his upcoming fatherhood while he and Peter are annoyed at Francis' obsessive micro-managing including having his personal assistant, Brendan (Wally Wolodarsky), travel on the train in a different carriage to arrange a detailed itinerary for each day of their trip. When a cobra purchased by Peter at a market escapes, the train's head steward (Walis Ahluwalia) confines the brothers to their carriage but they take little heed of this but when their rivalries end in blows they are put off the train in the middle of no-where…

A interesting, amusing, film by Wes Anderson where everything about it is a bit, well, odd: The story, the characters, the dialogue, and the setting. The casting is excellent with Owen Wilson's trademark everyman “whiner” fits Francis perfectly and the brooding Peter is perfect for Adrien Brody. Indeed, Anjelica Huston is the ever-running-away mother is perfect – Overbearing and abrupt to the point of heartless despite being in the convent. There are a few fun cameos from Bill Murray as a travelling salesman who seems to never get a break in his efforts to catch the train. The train itself is wonderful managing to capture what it must be like to ride this rather up-market transport.

Wes Anderson's fingerprints are all over this including a very odd scene where the camera pans through the walls of the different carriages of the train revealing various vignettes in alternate locations such as a plane. The dialogue is equally witty and very smart but also feels quite true to life. But this is far from that with an overwhelming sense of chaos throughout, and that is the joy. This film is a lot of fun and looks great to boot with memorable characters and story that will stick in your mind for some time to come. At the same time, despite the frequent trips into serialism we have some touching personal elements though we are never brought too close to the odd characters as they bumble their way across India.

A fun film from a master of the quirky with great performance by the cast.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-07-16

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Studio: Searchlight Pictures

Year: 2007

Length: 91 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Other reviewed films by Wes Anderson: