Get on the Train

6 Oct

You’ve gotta love Wes Anderson.

When he’s on, when he’s great — i.e.: Rushmore — he’s awesome.

About half of his new film, The Darjeeling Limited comes close to reaching the same comic heights of Rushmore (but in a very different way).

And the second half, well, it’s not bad, but it’s not as good either.

Darjeeling tells the story of three estranged brothers on a train ride through India.

It stars Anderson repertory company members Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson, plus Adrien Brody, as the brothers. (I loved Wesley Morris’ line in the Boston Globe that the they’re bonded by their “fascinating noses.”)

Also in the cast are Anderson regulars Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray.

The film is filled with Anderson’s new wave styling, including some awesome music, and it makes great use of the wide screen. There’s plenty of great dialogue, much of it delivered in such a matter-of-fact style that it sometimes it takes a second to realize just how good and funny the line was.

Brody’s constant fidgeting with his glasses is a good sight gag, as is Wilson’s bandaged face, and the back and forth about who owns their late father’s possessions is very funny.

And this keeps up until about halfway through the film when there’s a tonal shift and it suddenly is more dramatic than comical. It’s not that the movie gets worse at this point, but it’s just not as engaging.

In fact, though it’s just 90 minutes long, the film feels longer than that.

I sort of wish Anderson had stayed with the breezy, romp-ish tone he started (and ends) with, because I was really enjoying the journey. Instead, he takes a detour, and that’s why Darjeeling is only going to get a B+ from me.

One note, btw: It’s not necessary to see Hotel Chevalier, the short film that serves as a prequel to Darjeeling, but it helps.

There are a good handful of references to things that take place in Chevalier that you’ll appreciate more if you’ve seen it.

Thankfully, it’s available for free at iTunes.

2 Responses to “Get on the Train”


  1. What the Cuss? « Martin's Musings - June 2, 2012

    […] the director of such films as Rushmore (one of my all-time faves) and The Darjeeling Limited has not made a typical children’s animated […]

  2. A Chance to Do Some First-Class Scouting « Martin's Musings - June 2, 2012

    […] into the innocence of childhood in a way he hasn’t done before in any of his films (which include The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr. […]

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