×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Darjeeling Limited

Three estranged brothers bond during a trip across India in Wes Anderson's seriocomedy.

With:
Francis - Owen Wilson Peter - Adrien Brody Jack - Jason Schwartzman Rita - Amara Karan Brendan - Wally Wolodarsky The Chief Steward - Waris Ahluwalia The Father - Irfan Khan The Mechanic - Barbet Schroeder Alice - Camilla Rutherford The Businessman - Bill Murray Patricia - Anjelica Huston

Three estranged brothers bond and get rid of some literal and figurative baggage during a trip across India in Wes Anderson’s colorful and kinetic seriocomedy “The Darjeeling Limited.” Breaking no new ground thematically, pic comes closer to “The Royal Tenenbaums” than “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” but without achieving the poignance of “Rushmore.” Inventively staged pic should satisfy the upscale, youth and cult auds Anderson has developed, though it’s unlikely to draw significantly better than his earlier work. Following its Venice and New York fest bows, Fox Searchlight item will go into limited U.S. release on Sept. 29.

India’s vibrant landscapes and varied modes of travel, in particular the confined space of the locomotive, prove extremely congenial to Anderson’s brand of visual humor and widescreen setups. Framing, choreography and physical comedy reference classic train flicks ranging from “Twentieth Century” and “A Night at the Opera” to “A Hard Day’s Night.”

After a short prologue that neatly epitomizes India’s color and chaos — and offers a cameo for Anderson regular Bill Murray — pic settles into a first-class sleeping cabin aboard the Darjeeling Limited, where the Whitman brothers have gathered. Francis ( frequent Anderson collaborator Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (co-scripter Jason Schwartzman) haven’t spoken since their father’s funeral one year earlier.

Clearly, the siblings all have some healing to do. Francis, the eldest, is swathed in mummy-like bandages resulting from a motorcycle accident (an image that could have unintended resonance for auds who have followed Wilson’s recent personal crises). Middle child Peter can’t come to terms with his wife’s pregnancy. And Jack, the youngest, is so obsessed with his ex-girlfriend he continually eavesdrops on her answering machine.

Armed with a supply of Indian pain relievers, the brothers play catch-up and fall into familiar family patterns. Francis tries to impose his itineraries and menu decisions, Peter flaunts their father’s possessions and implies he was the favorite child, and Jack tries to avoid their quarreling through a whirlwind affair with comely train stewardess Rita (Amara Karan).

After they’re ejected from the train for egregious rule-breaking, Francis reveals an ulterior motive behind the trip: He wants them to visit their mother (Anjelica Huston), who’s now a nun in a Himalayan convent, but she seems less than keen to see them. The convent scenes humorously establish the source of Francis’ most irritating mannerisms and pave the way for spiritual healing.

Here, as in his two prior outings, Anderson’s arch, highly artificial style gets in the way of character and emotional development, rendering pic piquant rather than profound. Despite intense perfs by Wilson and Brody, Francis and Peter come off as not particularly nice. Schwartzman and Huston fare best at humanizing their characters, while newcomer Karan makes a strong impression as the sexy “sweet lime” girl.

Script gets sibling dynamics down pat, with oft-repeated lines accumulating meaning throughout pic.

Tech credits are top-notch, with particular kudos to Mark Friedberg’s gorgeous, intricate production design and Robert Yeoman’s nimble lensing. A specially designed, numbered luggage set from Louis Vuitton plays a significant role.

Music track effectively sets the mood with selections from Indian film scores alternating with choice rock tunes.

In Venice, pic screened with a nifty 13-minute short, “Hotel Chevalier,” identified in the end credits as “Part 1 of ‘The Darjeeling Limited.’ ” Completed in 2005, pic shows Jack and his ex-girlfriend (Natalie Portman) in the titular Parisian hotel.

Short provides a potent prologue that further serves to make Jack the most sympathetic of the brothers and adds resonance to visual motifs that recur in the feature. Per Anderson, “Hotel Chevalier” will not be shown in theaters, but rather on the Internet, at festivals and on DVD.

The Darjeeling Limited

Production: A Fox Searchlight release (in the U.S.) of a Fox Searchlight Pictures, Collage presentation, of an American Empirical Picture production. (International sales: 20th Twentieth Century Fox Intl., Los Angeles.) Produced by Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Roman Coppola, Lydia Dean Pilcher. Executive producer, Steven Rales. Co-producers, Jeremy Dawson, Alice Bamford, Anadil Hossain. Directed by Wes Anderson. Screenplay, Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor, Panavision widescreen), Robert Yeoman; editor, Andrew Weisblum; music supervisor, Randall Poster; production designer, Mark Friedberg; art director, Adam Stockhausen; graphic artist, Mark Pollard; costume designer, Milena Canonero; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Pawel Wdowczak; assistant director, Emilie Cherpitel. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Sept. 2, 2007.  (Also in New York Film Festival -- opener). Running time: 91 MIN.

Cast: Francis - Owen Wilson Peter - Adrien Brody Jack - Jason Schwartzman Rita - Amara Karan Brendan - Wally Wolodarsky The Chief Steward - Waris Ahluwalia The Father - Irfan Khan The Mechanic - Barbet Schroeder Alice - Camilla Rutherford The Businessman - Bill Murray Patricia - Anjelica Huston

More Scene

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content