This film is comedic royalty!
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 04/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think I mentioned before that Wes Anderson is a little hit or miss with me. Sometimes he really nails it (`Fantastic Mr. Fox') and other times his chaotic mixture of comedic absurdity and dramatic tension is a little out of balance and somewhat annoying (`Rushmore'). `The Royal Tenenbaums' was the first film I ever saw by Anderson, and it still remains my favorite. The film is simply stunning, the perfect balance of drama and humor, with a winning cast who makes the most out of every second they are on screen.
This film sadly comes in second to `Gosford Park' in both ensemble and screenplay for me this year, but it is a VERY close second.
This film tells the story of Royal Tenenbaum, an aging patriarch to a family of geniuses. Royal is a very hard man to get along with, and his family has grown quite detached from him. As he approaches the end of his life he becomes aware of his failings as a father and desires to make amends. As with any relationship, the longer it goes unattended the harder it is to mend. Despite his efforts, Royal doesn't seem to understand how to fix the mess he created.
But of course, where there is a will there is a way.
The screenplay is honestly a work of genius. I mean, both this and `Gosford Park' probably constitute two of the best screenplays of the entire decade (both would lose to `Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', but that is one of the greatest screenplays ever written in the entire history of cinema). Anderson and co-writer (and one of the films stars) Owen Wilson really work comedic magic, weaving these absurd yet surprisingly deep and moving characters through a whirlwind of inspiring and original sub-plots that never once become tedious or confusing. Everything here only serves to deepen our appreciation for the story being told.
And that appreciation is immortalized in the films ensemble. Like with their screenplays, both this film and `Gosford Park' are two of the best ensembles of the decade (they may actually be the two best). Every performance here is on point and perfectly compliments the other. Gene Hackman (one of the best actors to ever walk the earth) is perfection here, cultivating a deadpan comedic delivery that rivals Bill Murray's masterful work in `Lost in Translation'. Ben Stiller, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Owen Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow (total highlight), Luke Wilson, (the glorious) Anjelica Huston and the hysterical Kumar Pallana all add to the films comedic core with richly detailed performances.
With scenes that will stay with you long after the film has ended (that car crash scene alone is cinematic perfection), `The Royal Tenenbaums' is, like my title suggests, comedic royalty.
I understand that this film is not for everyone. Like I personally admitted, Wes Anderson is not a director whose vision is universally understood or even appreciated. I don't even appreciate all his work, but I admire and respect his dedication to his craft. At least he has a vision. He isn't a generic director. His work speaks loudly as to the man that he is and the visionary he has become. You know a Wes film when you see it, and that is the mark of a true auteur. Whether you love him, hate him or are still trying to make up your mind, we all can respect him for what he has achieved.
He has a achieved a lot with this magnificent film!"