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Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited
by Brittney Thompson

Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) directs The Darjeeling Limited: a story of three brothers, Francis, Peter, and Jack Whitman (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman) reunited one year after not speaking to or seeing one another following the funeral of their father. They travel throughout India on a train called the Darjeeling Limited and manage to get into ridiculous shenanigans (buying a poisonous snake meant for a pet; having one loafer worth thousands of dollars stolen by a shoe-shine boy; facing the threat of being thrown off the train at any moment regardless of how desolate the locations are; attempting to rescue three boys; running around with dozens of heavy and expensive pieces of luggage) before reaching their destination to visit their mother (Anjelica Huston).

The brothers are escapists; their respective problems and shared dysfunctional family prove to be most harrowing during their time together. Francis, the eldest and self-declared leader of the three, recently suffered from a motorcycle accident and remains in bandages and in possession of a cane for the whole of the film. He is overbearing and must know every aspect of his younger brothers’ lives—not because he cares, but because he wants the information that they are not sharing with him. He goes as far as to hold onto their passports to ground them to him. Peter discloses to Jack that he has left his pregnant wife behind in the United States and that the child will be born soon—he will not be present for the birth. He is convinced that he was the closest to their father and his favorite son. Peter has taken some of their father’s belongings such as his razor and prescription sunglasses out of which he can’t see, but insists on wearing both inside and outside. Jack is a writer whose characters in his pieces are striking to him and the people in his life although he won’t admit it. He refuses to let go of a failed relationship with his ex-girlfriend (Natalie Portman) and allows it to consume his life.

The themes of depression, isolation and loneliness while surrounded with people, familial duty, not to mention responsibility (of lack thereof) and bored wealthy people, are showcased in nearly every Wes Anderson film, but are unique to this dramedy. With loveable and quick-witted characters, audience members are sure to enjoy this fast paced story and be inspired to check out the rest of Anderson’s filmography.

Check out the film in the SGA Collection in the Media Resources Department of Ekstrom Library.

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