The Darjeeling Limited

Movie Information

In Brief: Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited (2007) is one of the filmmaker's best works — and a film that flirts with the term "perfect." Complaints that it doesn't "go anywhere" and that it is "twee" (a favorite term of Anderson detractors) seem to miss the point. The film — or the characters (who pretty much are the film) — very clearly ends up in a much different place than it started. That it gets there less by plot than by incident is beside the point. This is a ride well worth taking — full of great sights and sounds and a lot more depth than is often claimed.
Genre: Comedy Drama
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Wallace Wolodarsky, Waris Ahluwalia, Anjelica Huston
Rated: R

It is completely coincidental that this month’s Asheville Film Society screenings have included both Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson, but it’s certainly worth noting that when asked who we should look to as the “next Martin Scorsese,” Scorsese answered, “Wes Anderson.” (Plus, it was Scorsese showing Anderson Jean Renoir’s The River (1951) that spawned The Darjeeling Limited.) I’d be hard-pressed to argue the point. Anderson has an almost perfect batting average with me (and it is perfect if we start with his second film, 1999’s Rushmore). His films are unique. There’s really no one like him, and I’m not sure there ever has been. (The closest I can come is Richard Lester, and even that’s not an exact fit.) He’s also something of a love-him or hate-him proposition. I’m 100 percent in the “love him” category. (I even think his TV ads are great, especially the American Express one from 2006.)

The Darjeeling Limited (2007) is locked in a perpetual battle with his previous film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), as my favorite. It is, to my mind, a perfect film. It has a sense of cinema history, a sense of Anderson’s own history, and a sense of style that is just irresistible. I have seen people who say that the film isn’t “about anything,” a claim I both understand and am perplexed by. If you mean that the movie doesn’t have much of a plot, then I see what you mean, but as a detailed — and very funny and touching — character study of three brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman) and how they got the way they are, I can imagine nothing better. As usual, the film makes excellent use of pop music (particularly The Kinks and the inevitable Rolling Stones) — along with music culled from the films of Satyajit Ray and Merchant-Ivory. A pure treat for the eye, the ear, and the intellect.

Complete original review: here.

The Asheville Film Society will screen The Darjeeling Limited Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “The Darjeeling Limited

  1. Steven

    [b]Anderson has an almost perfect batting average with me (and it is perfect if we start with his second film, 1999’s Rushmore). [/b]

    I assume [i]The Royal Tenenbaums[/i] has grown on you a bit?

  2. Ken Hanke

    I’ve always liked it. I just don’t like it as much as the others.

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