The Darjeeling Limited

March 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Posted in DVD, movies | 1 Comment

Francis: [Francis and Peter are beating each other up] You don’t love me!
Peter: Yes I do!
Jack: I love you too, but I’m gonna mace you in the face!

The Darjeeling Limited
DVD Release – February 22, 2008

What can I say? I heart Wes Anderson. In my lifetime, I have heard many scoff at this man’s genius. One (ex) friend even believed that people who enjoyed his films only did so to cultivate an eccentricity about themselves or just to seem cool, hip or “with it.” To that I have always argued… If an artist believes in his/her vision so deeply as to not compromise the integrity or creative truths set forth by said vision, then that artist deserves applause, or at least a respectable chance in this business. Damn box office success! We want depth, we want artistic discovery, and we want quirkiness as all get out! (Ok, it got away from me there at the end… nonetheless true however)

darjeeling luggage

The Darjeeling Limited is a fun romp as told by three estranged brothers on a spiritual journey through India to find their mother and reconnect with one another. This film stars Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman (both now staples of Anderson’s films) and newcomer Adrien Brody. Wes Anderson frequently reuses brilliant actors for even the smallest of parts. A shining example of this is the opening of the film which shows guest star Bill Murray as the nameless “Business Man”, scurrying to make a train that he ultimately misses. Some have pondered whether this scene is symbolic, as the brothers lost their father a year before the film commences. Murray has appeared in three other of Anderson’s films, as well as many other recurring faces (Anjelica Houston as the wayward mother and only a few strategic glimpses of the hilarious Kumar Pallana).



Natalie Portman, who took part in the prequel short film “Hotel Chevalier” (available now on iTunes) also makes a cameo that makes absolutely no sense without seeing the short beforehand. Shot in two days and edited entirely on Anderson’s personal computer (I’m guessing a Mac :P), The Darjeeling Limited is supposed to be considered Part 2 of this 13 minute mini-sode, even though the short was shot a year prior – completely independent of the second film. According to Anderson, it was not originally conceived as a prequel to the movie. While shooting, the character of Jack Whitman unfolded and became excellent preparation for Jason Schwartzman, who ultimately played the role in both films (also credited as a writer on Darjeeling.) Now its time for the review within a review: Honestly, I didn’t get it. It was beautifully shot and well conceived, but I felt the mood was much different than the movie it preceded. Yes, it was set in France and had a very “Last Tango in Paris” feel to it. But to say that it explains or sets up the Darjeeling Limited?? I don’t know. I respect it (i.e. opening to this review) but I just don’t know.


Getting back to the performances in Darjeeling, its refreshing when the chemistry of the lead characters just work. Do I believe that these three gentleman came from the same mother? (Anjelica Houston to boot?) Physically, hell no. But the performances gelled enough to make the audience forget all that and join these eclectic three on a train ride through India. Kudos all around! (Sidenote: Sometimes I think that Adrien Brody is just paid for the expression on his face. Don’t get me wrong. I think he’s an emotionally genuine actor, but man! Can he work that mug or what? Just look at the last scene in Peter Jackson’s King Kong.)

I would also like to shout out to the soundtrack (amazon). This cornucopia of music from the Indian inspired score to the Kinks to Clair De Lune made the film much more enjoyable, especially emphasizing the slow-mo sections. Nice job! I currently own it… it’s that good.

This being my first DVD Wednesday review, I would like to dedicate this to all the “pseudo-with it” geeks like me that will continue to see Wes Anderson’s movies, despite meager box office returns. I was shocked to learn that the Darjeeling Limited was budgeted for approx. 17.5 million dollars (wiki), only to rake in about 11.7 mil at the box office. This would not seem as much of a terrible loss until I went on to discover that Anderson’s prior endeavor, the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, grossed about 23 million and The Royal Tenenbaums grossed over 52 million before that! Sure are a lot of us out there 😉

Darjeeling Trailer (Apple Trailers has HD version)

Additional web reference: The Darjeeling Limited by the Rushmore Academy website

RATING: *****/5
Recommendation: Rent it when you are feeling quirky and you will be pleasantly surprised and invigorated. But you don’t have to take Levar Burton’s word for it… lol

darjeeling limited dvd


1 Comment »

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  1. I saw this when it was playing at the CAC, and it was great. Wes Anderson forever!


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