The Darjeeling Limited: Wes Anderson has a clear cinematic voice; his films have both very particular aesthetics and thematic sensibility. This particular film centers its focus in a trio of brothers coping with loss and trying to find their own place in society (in this case, the closed-off society composed by them); it is a touching journey (both literally and figuratively) through a fantastic (in both senses of the word) India. The film has quite a bit of emotional detachment, but emotion is indeed present and running rather deeply, forced under the surface by the characters; that is part of their mechanism, and the film’s tone follows that lead. The performers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) are all subdued and spot-on in their vulnerable characterizations. The film looks wonderful; the production design of Mark Friedberg and the costume design of Milena Canonero are incredibly detailed, tastefully colorful, to the point the train that gives this film its title is almost a character. All of that is wonderfully captured by cinematographer Robert Yeoman, who also masters the plethora of camera movements the film uses to great effect. This combination works to create a world with a foot firmly set in the realm of fantasy, one which makes the slight absurd of some situations feel perfectly at home. The use of music is also exemplary.
The feature is often paired with the short Hotel Chevalier, its prologue. The short goes deeper into what was happening to one of the feature’s main characters before it began. It is interesting enough by itself, and it both enriches and is enrichened by the feature. Schwartzman and Natalie Portman give nice performances. The short is also an aesthetic gem, visually and aurally.
Read what I wrote before: The Darjeeling Limited