Quirk and Angst – The Darjeeling Ltd.


Wes Anderson’s latest is pretty decent if you like Wes Anderson-isms. Y’know, stuff like his personal music collection as the soundtrack, tonal shifts from comic to tragic at the drop of a meticulously patterned handbag, quirkiness up the wazoo, expensive herbal tea and a refreshing penchant for the color yellow. The Darjeeling Limited is no Bottle Rocket or Royal Tenenbaums but it’s better than the ultra-indulgent The Life Aquatic, and it reunites Anderson with the exceptionally hirsute Jason Schwartzmann, whose Velcro ass has only graced the screen in the most forgettable fluff like Bewitched and I <3 Huckabees.

Starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason as three estranged brothers, the story follows their reunion on a train trip across India. …And that’s it really!

It’s a slow, quiet character road trip with nothing but dialogue in exotic locations. The brothers are damaged, depressed people carrying a lot of baggage, literally and metaphorically and the movie takes great slow-motion pains to point that out. They also can’t trust anyone, even each other, so they fill their voids with cough medicine and pain killers and smoke and smoke and smoke. And Jason sleeps around, astounding given his nigh-comatose demeanor and math teacher mustache. Owen Wilson sports head bandages the whole time and obsessively orders everyone around, while Adrien Brody sorta floats around looking like he’s having the worst day of his life. And this is the first time I actually liked him in a movie. The best part of Darjeeling, besides the bone-dry humor, is definitely how good it looks. The colors are rich and vibrant and the Indian countryside looks beautiful.

And that’s that! There are worse ways to spend 91 minutes, and it is a charming 91 minutes, but it’d be nice if Anderson explored other narrative possibilities besides the faults and miseries of weird rich people. Maybe it was voluntary but the brothers’ last name is Whitman. These characters are rich, spoiled brats who realize late in life that it’s not all going to be caviar and Porsche cruisers, that successful relationships are often tantamount to true happiness. Which is nice and fuzzy to say but c’mon, these guys wear $6000 belts and $3000 loafers, this is so high upper class it’s in the troposphere rich whiteness, and they’re having their selfish existential crises in one of the poorest areas of the world. Wait a second, whiteness? White. Whitman… Whiteman…



7 Responses to “Quirk and Angst – The Darjeeling Ltd.”

  1. GeorgeK Says:

    “this is so high upper class it’s in the troposphere rich whiteness, and they’re having their selfish existential crises in one of the poorest areas of the world.”

    That might actually be it. Could the whole thing be some sort of post-ironic uber-modern-skippity-skip send-up-self-parody? Is that you were driving at to begin with. I now officially want to see this.

    I *Heart* Huckabees wasn’t forgettable! Come on, you even remembered to find a way to approximate the heart icon!

  2. John Mora Says:

    I <3 Huckabees is more famous for Lily Tomlin freaking out than it is for the actual movie.

  3. Mern Says:

    And did you notice the swastika painted on the rock (IN WHITE!!!) near the end of the money! AHHHHGHGHGHHHHH!

    Paranoid Idiot, Like You

  4. sirtmagus Says:


  5. kalki Says:

    The swastika in the movie has nothing whatever to do with Nazism or “whiteness.” It’s an ancient Hindu religious symbol still frequently used in India today, the name of which comes from the Sanskrit word “svasti,” meaning “well being.” It’s also used by Buddhists and many Native American groups. Prior to the rise of Hitler it was popular in the United States as a good luck charm, and one can even find Coca-Cola bottle openers in the shape.

  6. Brian B Says:

    I just saw this movie and I thought it was amazing. However the only other Wes Anderson movie I’ve seen was Rushmore, so I couldn’treally say if this is simply just a retread of the royal tanenbaums or something.

  7. Brian B Says:

    Also I’ll never understand the Adrian Brody hate }:3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: