I was really excited to finally be seeing The Darjeeling Limited, the latest movie from director Wes Anderson. I’d loved the marketing campaign for the movie and was really intrigued by The Hotel Chevalier, the short that was released prior to the movie as a free download on iTunes that told a story that leads into the movie in an indirect way.
The movie tells the story of three brothers, played by Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartzman who wind up together on a train ride through India, a trip that’s been organized by Wilson’s character after three haven’t spoken for a year following the death of their father. What the motives are it’s not clear (at first) but he wants them to bond by going as a group to all sorts of spiritual places and doing things that would normally fall outside their comfort zone. His goal is revealed and, while it’s not something the other two (or the goal itself) are thrilled about the trip has accomplished its other purpose of bringing the brothers together.
The movie is a lot of fun, more fun than it really should be to be honest. While there’s a long, more depressing sequence about 2/3s of the way through the movie the rest keeps a bouncy pace that moves everyone along at a good clip and keeps the viewer engaged. I don’t think it reaches the same epic level as Anderson’s previous The Royal Tannenbaums (my personal favorite) but it’s still pretty darn good and is certainly a worthy entry in Anderson’s body of work.
On the DVD you have the option of watching the movie itself, the Hotel Chevalier short on its own, or Chevalier followed immediately by Darjeeling. It’s this last option that I’d most heartily recommend. When viewed as on body of work the story really is a lot stronger than Chevalier is on its own. And there are mentions of the events of Chevalier in Darjeeling, so it’s required viewing if you really want the background and know what the heck Schwartzman’s character is talking about and why…well…I won’t spoil that.
I’m grateful to Fox Searchlight for sending me a screener copy of the movie to review, allowing me to see one of the movies I was really looking forward to and wound up enjoying every bit as much as I thought I would.