Extraordinary movie. 3 American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across india with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other, to become brothers again like they used t... more »o be. Their spiritual quest, however, veers rapidly off-course (due to events involving over the counter pain killers, Indian cough syrup, and pepper spray). and they eventually find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert with eleven suitcases, a printer and a laminating machine. At this moment, a new, unplanned journey suddenly begins, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman star in this film about their adventure, and their friendship.« less
Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 7/4/2011...
I am usually a fan of Wes Anderson's movies. I know he has a dry sense of humor that people sometimes just don't get. But if some of his other films are dry, this one was a desert! This one is about three brothers that try to reconnect with each other by taking a train trip across India. There are admittedly a few funny moments, but they get more and more rare as the film progresses. This has none of the charm of The Life Aquatic. It's just plain boring for the most part. It's like he had a film in mind, started it, ran out of material, and just brainstormed dull moments to extend the time. I would say avoid this one unless you're just a die-hard Wes Anderson fan. And then I would give it a wide berth. But, being a fan of some director's, I know you won't listen. Still, you've been warned.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Martha H. from CHICAGO, IL Reviewed on 1/14/2011...
Really good movie!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Judy M. from MELBOURNE, FL Reviewed on 4/10/2010...
funny in a weird way. my kind of comedy.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jeanne S. (ijeanne) from FORT THOMAS, AZ Reviewed on 4/5/2010...
After I watched Anderson's latest movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, I was interested in seeing more of his work, so I started with this. It was interesting and creative, but felt a little too random. The ending was redeeming though, so if you like an offbeat, quirky comedy, you'd probably like this.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Laura D. (pugfurniture) from SHEBOYGAN, WI Reviewed on 9/11/2009...
I tend to like movies that are a little strange. I disliked this movie greatly.
1 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
John C. (cornetto) from RALEIGH, NC Reviewed on 10/14/2008...
Superb! Not as comedic as usual, but it gives his traditional sobering tastes of reality through subtle and witty methods. Got to love Wes Anderson!
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
S A A. (Learned2Heal) Reviewed on 8/17/2008...
MAJOR YAWN!!!! This is a waste of time, dumb, dumb, dumb movie. Normally, I love Adrien Brody. I don't know what he was thinking, doing this total piece of fluff with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Owen Wilson has never been one of my favorites and his participation in this piece of nothing has not improved his standing in my eyes.
The story is disjointed, the acting is spotty (what else could it be, given what they have to work with?). The comedy is strained, at best. There is an overwhelming fondness for the color yellow. The natives are badly (hardly?) portrayed. And the two actors who might have contributed something substantial (Angelica Huston and Bill Murray) had little more than cameos. I don't think Bill Murray ever uttered a word....
The New York Film Critics must have been paying off a heavy debt when they awarded this movie a Best Screenplay Award.
My husband was watching this movie with me and he took off to go to bed halfway through with no regrets.
Unless you like total nonsensical drivel that meanders every which way, I recommend you give this movie a pass. I would have, if I had known.
3 of 8 member(s) found this review helpful.
Let's go have a drink and smoke a cigarette
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 12/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wes Anderson is at his best when he explores a small group of people -- sometimes family, sometimes not -- and explores what makes them tick.
And after the cluttered "The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou," Anderson returns to those roots with "The Darjeeling Limited." Technically it's an Indian road trip movie, and it's full of his quirky charm... but at heart it's just about three unhapppy brothers with a lot of baggage. Both literally and psychologically.
The forlorn Peter (Adrien Brody) and his luggage barely make it to an Indian train in time to join his brothers, woman-chasing writer Jack (Jason Schwartzman) and bandaged control freak Francis (Owen Wilson). They haven't spoken for a year, and now they're planning to awkwardly bond as they travel to their estranged mother's convent.
But after disasters involving a snake, painkillers and pepper spray, the three brothers find themselves (and their monogrammed suitcases) thrown off the train. As they trek back to civilization, the three men set out on a quest to explore the spiritual, deal with life, death, feathers, man-eating tigers, funerals and their own painful memories... and possibly find their mom.
Nobody in their right mind would expect Wes Anderson to spin up an ordinary good-ol'-boys road trip movie. At least, not the way most directors would. Instead, Anderson crafts this as the baby brother to "The Royal Tenenbaums," exploring a fractured, mildly dysfunctional family with an absent parent.
And the cinematic flavour of "Darjeeling Limited" is much the same as in "Royal Tenenbaums" -- bittersweetly funny and arch, with a tinge of poetic melancholy underlying the plot. It would be an endearing movie in any setting, but somehow putting it in the mellow glow of India's dusty roads, bright fields and cluttered shrines makes it even better. The bright, visual richness gives it a sense of whimsy.
For the record, Roman Coppola and Schwartzman helped Anderson out with the script, but there isn't much change. As always, lots of wry, amusingly contemplative dialogue ("I wonder if the three of us would've been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people"), though there is some hilarious comedic scenes of sibling infighting. It even gets slapsticky.
Fortunately, Anderson never puts artificial twists into the story, for any extra drama, comedy or thrills; the closest thing would be a brief detour into a child's funeral. The story simply flows by, because it's all about the brothers -- and focusing on anything but their self-imposed journey would just be extra baggage.
And the three men playing Jack, Francis and Peter are nothing short of brilliant. Brody is vaguely lost and forlorn, while Schwartzman is a quirky rake who is still haunted by his last girlfriend (played by Natalie Portman in the short intro, "Hotel Chevalier"). But there's something almost painfully wounded about Wilson's reckless control freak, which has nothing to do with his bandages.
"The Darjeeling Limited" is a visually astounding, contemplative little comedy, all about three men who have to deal with the past before they can move on. Put it on the shelf next to "Royal Tenenbaums.""
That's Our Train!"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 03/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Synopsis: An ornate and psychedelically colored train known as the Darjeeling Limited transports three estranged brothers; Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) to destinations unknown (actually Francis is attempting to arrange a rendezvous with their constantly disappearing Mother (Anjelica Huston) now living as a nun in Tibet). It has only been a year since their Father's tragic death and each brother carries their own personal heartache over his passing and their Mother's disturbing absence from the funeral.
As one comes to expect when traveling with others, close proximity, annoying behaviors and old wounds eventually surface which must be dealt with as they arise. Add to the mix unforeseen events both aboard the train and at intermittent stopovers along the way and you have the makings of a transformational experience unlike anything the brothers could have anticipated.
Critique: The '07 film `The Darjeeling Limited' begins painfully slow and incomprehensibly weird but if you have the fortitude to survive the first 40 minutes you will eventually find yourself on a delightfully oddball, unpredictable trek across the Indian subcontinent on a spiritual journey in search of physical, emotional and relational healing. Serving as a metaphor for life's journey, one might say that we are all aboard the Darjeeling Limited headed in the same direction to parts unknown. In the final analysis one learns that it's not where you're headed but how much baggage you drag along with you.
There's a lot of food for thought hidden away in this film for those who are willing to put in the effort and watch until the very end. Give it a try if you're in the mood for something obtuse."
Gonna take a spiritual journey
R. Kyle | USA | 03/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's a time out of mind feeling in "Darjeeling Limited" that makes me think it could just as easily have taken place in the 60's. If Francis (Owen Wilson) hadn't kept looking for a power cord, I would have been flashing back to the time when the Kinks' music from the soundtrack was original.
The story's about three brothers: Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman). Francis originally tells his two younger sibs they're going on a spiritual journey after their father's death. His real motive is to find their mother (Anjelica Huston), who's gone off to an Indian convent instead of attending their father's funeral.
Unfortunately, the brothers are not only not bonding--they're driving the conductor crazy til they get kicked off. They do manage to pull things together to help some locals and in so doing, experience the revival they'd needed. From there, they travel to see their Mom.
Even if the brothers are occasionally depressing, the scenery, music, and train are well worth watching "Darjeeling Limited" for. This is definitely a spiritual journey even for those of us watching in the audience."
"Isn't it the dumbest thing to judge a movie by its title? Well, that's what I had done with this little jewel of a movie. When I looked at the theater schedules, my eyes just skipped this title for whatever reasons. But I should've known better because the famous "never judge a book by its cover" proverb has always been around, hasn't it?
I came across this movie while I was channel surfing and was lucky to catch it just as it was starting. I didn't know anything about it, so it really helped that the initial scene shows no other than Bill Murray riding a cab going furiously fast, through the crowded streets of an Indian city.
Bill Murray's character arrives at the train station and then runs along the platform trying to catch the Darjeeling Limited, a train which is just starting to leave. Then, in a choreographed slow motion shot, we see Peter Whitman (Adrien Brody) catching up with Bill, getting ahead of him, and eventually leaving him behind as he catches the train and boards it through the last car. We won't see Bill's character until a brief scene later in the movie; what we see, instead, is a close-up of Peter lifting his sunglasses and triumphantly looking back at a defeated Bill Murray as he gives up trying to catch the train. This is the beginning of the mesmerizing journey of three brothers, Peter, Francis and Jack Whitman, through interior India, while they look for a reason to be together.
The Whitman brothers share two cabins on the Darjeeling Limited which is loosely based on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a legendary train that runs through West Bengal in northeast India. It's been some time since they saw each other and for some reason Peter and Jack have agreed with Francis to take this trip.
As brothers, they have things in common. They like to smoke cigarettes and they share a taste for over the counter drugs and painkillers. They all carry and share an inherited, expensive, Louis Vuitton-like complete luggage set, which is almost a character in itself; and of course, they all share a past of which, luckily, we get to see a glimpse.
They're brothers, but they are also very different. They all wear suits, but when it's time for bed, Francis wears a "Darjeeling Limited" pajama; Peter wears boxers, a dress shirt and a sleeping mask; and Jack wears the bathrobe he brought from his brief stay with his girlfriend at a luxurious Paris hotel. They sleep in these, but they also fight, pray and confer. Unexpectedly, these outfits tell us much of what these characters have been through.
Owen Wilson is perfect as Francis, the eldest, who spends almost the entire movie with his head wrapped in an odd-looking set of bandages. He recently crashed with his motorcycle and was technically dead for a moment. He is single or perhaps divorced, and takes, or tries to take, the role of leader and organizes the itinerary. He is struggling to be the glue that they need to stay together but goes a little over the top and even orders what Jack and Peter are having for dinner.
Jason Schwartzman is Jack, the youngest, a published writer who has a high maintenance girlfriend. His stories, so he says, are based on "fictional" characters, but those suspiciously mirror exactly what happens to him, his girlfriend and his family. Jack is the most candid and doesn't hesitate to say to Francis and Peter: "I wonder if the three of us would've been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people".
Adrien Brody plays Peter, the soon-to-be dad who likes to wear his father's prescription glasses although these give him a never-ending headache. Perhaps we get to know the least about Peter, but Brody does an excellent job and with his solemn, woebegone expressions he gets Peter to speak a thousand words.
The screenplay by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman is extraordinary. But the absolute beauty of this screenplay resides not in the things the characters get to say, but rather in the ones left unsaid. It is like a fill in the blanks puzzle that Anderson and company have given us to complete. I bet anyone can come up with some interesting theories on what it is that we don't see in this movie. I sure came with mine. Initially, I was trying to think of the most logical plot, one that made sense. However, when I saw this movie a second, and a third time, I stopped trying to connect the dots, forgot about logic, took pleasure in the outstanding performances and enjoyed every moment of it.
This is a tale that can spread over so many things that I'm still overwhelmed. It is a story about faith and fate; trust, relationships, aspirations and frustrations; desperation and death. Conceivably, above all, it is a story about friendship, family and love. I do not deny that the mood you're in definitely affects the way a movie affects you. But in this case, I am sure it must be repeatedly delightful and engaging, regardless of your mood, to witness these three brothers spend a few days together, do good beyond what they initially intended and successfully complete their spiritual quest.
This is a funny, engaging and very well made movie. The cinematography, by Robert Yeoman, is outstanding. Teaming up again with Anderson, Yeoman beautifully shoots it through stunning Indian locations in a yellowish, somber tone, mixes it with some slow motion and every now and then shifts to bright blues, reds and greens. The back and forth through the train cabins and the close-ups of the Whitman brothers give this movie a peculiar and unforgettable feel.
Acting, casting, editing, art direction, production design and specially the music and songs, are all exactly what this film needs. Supporting cast is also vital. Like Bill Murray, Anjelica Houston joins Wes Anderson again, and delivers a solid, key performance. Also, after appearing alongside Jason Schwartzman in "Hotel Chevalier", the 13 minute prelude to the Darjeeling Limited, Natalie Portman can be seen briefly as Jack's girlfriend.
I've always thought that having just up to four stars to rate a movie is like trying to write your full name with just four letters. In this case, "The Darjeeling Limited" gets my highest rating because I could not think of a single flaw in it, nor any way this movie could be better, and most of all, because I really enjoyed it.
"The Darjeeling Limited" might become a "cult" film. Wes Anderson has another couple of "cult" movies to his writing and directing credits: The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I've also skipped those in the past. For sure that, soon, will be corrected. And please, never, ever, judge a movie by its title, poster or trailer! "
Unlimited comedy and tearful humanity
B. Williams | California, USA | 05/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wes Anderson directs this movie about three brothers on a spiritual journey. In true comedy form, we get to see the brotherly love and jealously that siblings often have for each other. I knew this was going to be a wonderful comedy, but what always takes me aback is the soulful humanity that is in Wes Anderson movies. Once again we get to see Owen Wilson, Bill Murray (in a cameo), Jason Schwartzman, and Anjelica Huston. But we also see the great Adrien Brody playing one of the three brothers. While your laughing, you just might be surprised to find tears falling. This is a wonderful film to share with family."