The Darjeeling Limited: Wes Anderson (2007)



I love the way this country smells. I’ll never forget it. It’s kind of spicy.

Wes Anderson, in many interviews has stated that this film was intended as an homage to Satyajit Ray (and even inspired by Jean Renoir) and that’s exactly what hits you from the first frame; a poignant, stylized and funny opening sequence shot somewhere on the streets of Rajasthan. A character (referred to in the credits as The Businessman) played by Bill Murray rushes to the railway station in a cab and chases a train that has already started moving. Enter Adrien Brody with a couple of bags, cue slow motion and the track, ‘This Time Tomorrow’ by The Kinks. If you’ve seen a Wes Anderson film, you’ll know this is a sign of good things to come.

Wes Anderson, pardon the cliche, is one of a kind. His worlds are inhabited by people born into decadence with quirks and eccentricities that seem far too unreal but still manage to exhibit emotions and oddities that are quite humanistic. The Darjeeling Limited is hardly concerned about conventional plot mechanisms but flits across many familiar themes; sibling rivalry, love, family, oedipal conflicts and of course, closure.

Three brothers who have fallen apart over the years meet up on The Darjeeling Limited under the insistence of one of them who feels they need to feel something on the lines of a spiritual awakening. As they visit temples, meet people, share adventures and embrace the culture, they come apart at the seams. One of the more beautiful scenes is when the youngest brother Jack wonders if they would have ever been friends if they weren’t brothers (I wonder if the three of us would’ve been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people.).

Ever since Rushmore, I’ve been a huge fan of Anderson. While critics think his films are more stylistic than anything else, I think that’s pretty much what Anderson strives to create, that and characters who in spite of their inherent weirdness still manage to redeem themselves. Anderson’s choice in music is impeccable. The score features tracks composed by Satyajit Ray himself and obligatory punk rock songs from the 70s.

The cinematography by Robert D. Yeoman is as usual very Andersonesque; wide angle lenses and some pretty inventive shots. The settings and locations are a tad bit over dressed but this isn’t unusual considering the man at the helm. The casting is near perfect too. Apart from the main characters, it will be criminal not to mention the beautiful Amara Karan who I intend to immediately hunt down and propose to. She has an amazing screen presence and oozes with sensuality.

Of course, India is portrayed as exotic (to Anderson, India doesn’t seem to have changed since the 1970s) which isn’t such a bad thing since he points to Ray as his inspiration. Also, some of the Indian characters have very noticeable Yankee accents; all forgiven, mostly because I feel Anderson has created his best film to date, moving, heart warming and stupendously beautiful to look at.


PS: Hotel Chevalier is a mandatory companion piece to the film.


7 Responses to “The Darjeeling Limited: Wes Anderson (2007)”

  1. I am so dying to see this film bro. Cool review. Been checking out pics of Amara Karan. Delicious! Does Hotel Chevalier have any significance wrt narratvie of the film?

  2. Oh yeah…she has this thing about her…which I can’t quite describe.

    Come to think about it, Hotel Chevalier is referenced a bit in the film…so I would say it’s got a significance.

  3. 3 Ravenent

    Dude, Natalie\’s officially jealous! šŸ˜‰

    BTW, if you\’re goona go after Ms. Khan, you\’d better keep an eye out for the LTTE… šŸ˜

  4. @Ravenant:
    Any special reasons for escaping the quotes?
    I am pretty sure that they wouldn’t have caused SQL Injections šŸ˜›

  5. @Ravenent Well…she was born in the UK. The LTTE can kiss my @$$! šŸ™‚

    @Bipin eh?

  6. 6 Ravenent

    @Bips: Heh. Great minds think alike. šŸ˜€ I didn’t escape the quotes, though I did use *your* site to post, so that may have had something to do with it. After I refreshed the page I was surprised myself, then the first thing that occurred to me was, “WordPress is worried about SQL injections too”! šŸ˜›

    @PS: Dude, once the LTTE’s done with your @$$ for your smart-alec comments, I’m pretty sure it’s not gonna remain kissable anymore. šŸ˜‰ (Ok, that was one weird sentence!)

  7. @Rave*:
    So now it means that if I am going to use my proxy to attack some site, I don’t just have to evade the victim site’s filter, but my proxy’s filter too. šŸ˜ That sucks šŸ˜¦

    Ignore it all.

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