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The Darjeeling Limited
Anderson's best work since Life Aquatic
The Darjeeling Limited
Brody, Schwartzman and Wilson Star in "The Darjeeling Limited."
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $30,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

April 9th, 2007: Following the death of their father and disappearance of their mother, three American brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman) take a journey through the vibrant and sensual landscapes of India to re-forge family bonds. The journey comes in a form of a train trip, all set up by the oldest brother, Francis (Wilson), who wishes to reconnect with his siblings. But when their behavior causes them to be kicked off the train, they are forced to learn much more about themselves and India than they ever expected.

What to Expect: The most important thing to mention is that the film is written and directed by Wes Anderson. The reason why that is important, is because of the director's style, which many movie-goers find boring, slow and unfunny. Anderson believes that his films are not necessarily meant for a specific age group or any other demographic, but for a specific personality, which is mostly found in outsiders and misfits. Even with such a fan base, he has been able to grow a large following that loves his movies for the same reason many others find them unwatchable. The stories may be slow, quirky and mostly consist of dry humor, but the characters are always well developed and you're guaranteed to chuckle all the way through. In fact, one of his biggest fans is the recent Oscar winner, Martin Scorsese, who placed Anderson's directorial debut Bottle Rocket among his top ten movies of the 1990's. That kind of endorsement got Anderson to the next level, and made two unknown actors, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson become some of the biggest stars in movies today.

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Since Bottle Rocket, Anderson has written and directed Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Tenenbaums got him an Oscar nomination for best screenplay and attracted some of Hollywood's best to the project, including Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Danny Glover, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin. Life Aquatic was no different. Even now, stars are begging to be apart of his movies; for his next project, The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which is animated), both George Clooney and Cate Blanchett have already signed up.

Even though Anderson reuses the same actors in most of his films, there always seems to be someone new. In Darjeeling Limited, the new guy is the Oscar winning actor, Adrien Brody, who is known from Peter Jackson's King Kong. Adding Brody to the cast of Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman created some criticism from the fans, since the trio doesn't necessarily look alike, and Wilson's blond hair doesn't match his co-stars'. Even though his hair is dyed black for the project, many still would have hoped that Anderson used the three Wilson brothers (Owen, Luke, Andrew) instead. The trio worked together on Bottle Rocket and Royal Tenenbaums, so it seems like a perfect fit, especially when the characters' last names in the movie are Wilson as well. On the other hand, Brody, Wilson and Schwartzman do have a distinct feature among them, a big nose. So, who knows, maybe if the light hits them just the right way, they could look to be related.

The shooting of the movie took place mostly in India, the country which Anderson only knew through the work of filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Anderson is an admirer of Ray and considers him an inspiration for all of his past projects. But it is not only Anderson that finds Ray's work special; Ray is considered India's most important director, was voted the 25th greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly and won a special lifetime achievement award at the 1992 Academy Awards. While many Americans never heard of Satyajit Ray or his work, Anderson stated that Darjeeling Limited is a dedication to his hero.

Anderson's ties to India stretch farther than being a fan of Ray. When he and Owen Wilson were roommates in college, they used to visit a local Indian coffee shop owner, Kumar Pallan, to listen to his stories. After Anderson cast him in Bottle Rocket, Pallana became known as the go-to-guy for films requiring an odd character. Since Bottle Rocket, he has been cast in not only Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums, but Duplex and The Terminal. While Pallana did not make it into Darjeeling Limited, Anderson's other friend/jewelry designer, Waris Ahluwahlia did. In fact, he also made it into Anderson's Life Aquatic and his quirky American Express commercial, which also stars Jason Schwartzman. You can check it out here.

The name of the movie, Darjeeling Limited, is titled after the train that the three brothers take on their journey. Funny enough, Anderson visited Darjeeling in India while scouting locations for the end of the film, but ended up finding a better location in the mountains around Udaipur. Even though the film never spent a second in Darjeeling, Anderson still decided to keep the name, since most of the movie takes place on the train.

The story revolves around the three brothers attempting to rebuild their relationship after the death of their father. Earlier on, it was rumored that Bill Murray would make an appearance in the film as the father, who the trio believes was reincarnated into an albino tiger. Apparently that idea was scrapped and instead Murray's role is boiled down to him chasing after the train, later being outrun by Adrian Brody, who is trying to catch the same train. Other actors involved are Angelica Huston, who is said to play the role of the mother, and Natalie Portman, who has a short scene with Schwartzman in the beginning.

The brothers' adventure consists of searching for their missing mother, who now resides at a convent where she teaches poor children. On their way to see her, they are kicked off the train for drinking and bringing a poisonous snake on board. They are also involved in saving children from drowning, getting into a fight and are constantly having arguments with each other. The oldest brother, Francis (Wilson), set the entire trip up and does his best to keep his brothers from leaving, even though his forceful ways keeps the other two from trusting him. Most of the trip Wilson's character is covered in bandages, from a bike accident that left him almost dead. This accident is the reason for Wilson's yearning to be close to his brothers, as the first thing he remembers after the ordeal is how he wished Peter (Brody) and Jack (Schwartzman) were there with him.

A simple story like this may not intrigue many movie-goers, and unfortunately Anderson needs a hit if he is to continue making his own films. While The Royal Tenenbaums more than tripled its $21 million budget, Life Aquatic barely brought in half of its, much larger, $50 million budget. The film was released in about the same amount of theaters as Tenenbaums, at almost the same exact time (3 years later) and carried a similar, impressive cast, but failed where Tenenbaums succeeded. So what went wrong? Many point to the fact that Life Aquatic was the first film not co-written by Owen Wilson, which also happens to be the only negatively reviewed film on Anderson's resume. If the secret formula is the writing team of Anderson and Wilson than Darjeeling Limited could be in trouble, since Wilson was left out of the writing process again. To go on record, I found Life Aquatic to be Anderson's best work and believe Darjeeling Limited will be no different. But realistically, if you look at the facts, Darjeeling Limited is likely to fail at the box office and once again receive mostly negative reviews.

In Conclusion: Many believe that some of Anderson's best films were co-written by Owen Wilson, and separating from him could mean disastrous for Darjeeling Limited. In addition, Brody might be a great actor, but it is not easy to step into an Anderson film and deliver a great performance. Bill Murray has perfected this, but Brody may lack the timing necessary for such a movie. Outside of those two issues, this promises to be another fun, quirky project for Anderson, one that fans have been begging for since Life Aquatic.

Similar Titles: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket
September 29th, 2007 (limited)
February 26th, 2008 (DVD)

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Wes Anderson

Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Roman Coppola, Camilla Rutherford, Natalie Portman

Total: 96 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Click here to view site

Rated R for language.

91 min





The Darjeeling Limited at AskMen.com

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