The Darjeeling Limited (15)



Comedy (2007)
104mins US

Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Anjelica Huston
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer(s): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

To mark the one-year anniversary of their father's passing, Francis Whitman and his brothers Peter and Jack embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to India. En route, the men re-ignite old rivalries, bicker and discover that they have more in common with each other than they would like to admit. The journey is momentarily interrupted when the train carrying them across the deserts of Rajasthan gets waylaid before they finally reach the convent where their mother has found God and the direction they all lack.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Darjeeling Limited

In the space of four films - Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic - writer-director Wes Anderson has become one of the most exciting, distinctive and original voices in modern American filmmaking...

The Darjeeling Limited. Fox UK FilmFascinated with the mutability of human relationships, Anderson has a talent for marrying comedy and tragedy to stunning effect in his portraits of eccentric geniuses and dysfunctional families. For his new feature, The Darjeeling Limited, the filmmaker delivers a bittersweet valentine to brotherhood in the unlikely setting of a train heading across the deserts of Rajasthan. Working in the cramped carriages of a specially adapted locomotive, Anderson creates a microcosm of clashing cultures. Modern, western sensibilities collide with ancient, spiritual traditions, and love blossoms under the ferocious glare of the Indian sun.

To mark the one-year anniversary of their father's passing, Francis Whitman (Owen Wilson) and his estranged brothers Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) board a train bound for India. Control freak Francis has every aspect of the spiritual pilgrimage mapped out, courtesy of personal assistant Brendan (Wallace Wolodarsky), who will post itineraries under the door every morning. "I had him bring a printer and laminator," smiles Francis.

The Darjeeling Limited. Fox UK FilmJack intends to use the trip to pen a new short story - a flirtation with seductive train stewardess Tira (Amara Karan) seems like rich source material - in between telephone calls to his old flame. "He's got the code to his ex-girlfriend's answering machine and he's checking her messages," reveals Peter, who is grappling with the realisation that his wife Alice (Camilla Rutherford) is pregnant. "I guess I always expected to get divorced so having children was never part of the plan," he confides.

As the train chugs relentlessly to its destination, the brothers re-ignite old rivalries, bicker and discover that they have more in common with each other than they would care to admit. The Darjeeling Limited is an absurdist road movie fuelled by the delightful rapport between the actors, whose ribbing often degenerates into fisticuffs ("I love you but I'm going to have to Mace you in the face!" Jacks warns his brothers during one skirmish.)

The Darjeeling Limited. Fox UK FilmAnderson engineers an unexpectedly moving detour during the second half of the film, bringing the trials of the Whitmans into sharp relief against the suffering of an Indian villager (Irrfan Khan). Art uncomfortably imitates life in relation to the plight of Wilson's character, and regular collaborator Bill Murray enjoys a fleeting cameo as a fellow rail traveller. A pithy 13-minute short, Hotel Chevalier, prefaces the main feature, illuminating the strained relationship between Jack and his ex-lover (Natalie Portman) in a Parisian hotel room. "Are you running away from me?" she wonders as they sit on the bed. "Thought I already did," he responds dryly. Paris - the city for brokenhearted lovers.

- Kim Hu

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