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September 18, 2010


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Can I assume this means you've got the Darjeeling Blu now?

Great movie, btw - always felt it was Anderson's best since Rushmore (before Fantastic Mr. Fox). Guess I'm one of those people who thinks that Wes had it and never really lost it.


In retrospect, it's interesting how the memorable cameos given to Henry Selick's stop-motion sea critters in 'Life Aquatic' and Darjeeling's animatronic tiger anticipate 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'.


Never get out of the boat.


Nope, Anderson never lost it. He hasn't made a bad one yet.


Agreed. And they're so re-watchable. The only one I've found myself less enamored of upon revisiting is TENENBAUMS, which strikes me as just a little too diffuse -- a little too busy, a little overstuffed. Still good, but I'll go back and watch any of the others first. I thought DARJEELING was as good as anything he's done (though RUSHMORE will always be first among equals for me).

Lance McCallion


Immediately comes to mind.


YND - I still adore TENENBAUMS. It may be overstuffed, but that's one of the reasons I love it, as well as (and even moreso) THE LIFE AQUATIC. They're both overflowing with invention and wit.

RUSHMORE is probably still his best, though, I'd agree. But LIFE AQUATIC is my favorite.

Hollis Lime

If there is one critical cliche that I wish I could destroy, it's the notion that Wes Anderson has gotten worse as he's gone on. I think "The Darjeeling Limited" is his best film, and in a subtle way, his most ambitious in how he combines satire of commodofication and a very profound commentary on the human soul. It is also a great reminder of why, in an American cinema that seems to currently care nothing about form, why we need directors like Anderson now more than other. It's, without a doubt, one of my favorite movies of the decade.

Hollis Lime

It should say ever instead of other, of course.


Amen, Hollis. Well said. The other criticism I wish would die is that Anderson is just empty quirk for its own sake. That's evidence to me of the death of imagination.

Jason M.

@ Lance McCallion.

That was exactly what I was thinking, too. Go, Joe.

Kent Jones

"If there is one critical cliche that I wish I could destroy, it's the notion that Wes Anderson has gotten worse as he's gone on...The other criticism I wish would die is that Anderson is just empty quirk for its own sake."

Let's not forget that other old standby - that his movies are only for privileged white people.


Can I also throw in a mention of just how damned good Adrien Brody is in this movie? He was the one wild card going in and adjusts to the Anderson aesthetic beautifully, while revealing a deadpan comic sensibility that's unique and wonderful and completely his own. I think in general his choice of material since winning the Oscar in '03 has rarely been less than interesting (whether the films were successful or not), and in this sense he's still one of the best young actors we've got.


At first-glance I would have (and would still) bet my hard-earned money that this screen cap was from the upcoming Apocalypse Now BD, but everyone is talking about The Darjeeling Limited, a film which I've never seen. Tigers in both??


I like Anderson as much as anyone else - hell, Rushmore is one of my all-timers - but I really hated TDL.
The movie just meanders, never picks up any steam, never giving us anything to latch on to (narratively, thematically or performance wise) and just sits there, inert on screen. I can't for the life of me understand what so many people see in it.

jim emerson

I can't think of a Wes Anderson movie that I haven't found charming, heartwarming, funny, re-watchable, etc. I'm just wondering: Has anybody seen one that really mattered? Even the ones I love seem rather precious and trivial -- like juvenile love letters I might keep in a box in the closet. I'm not trying to be perverse. Anderson just seems to be deliberately, obsessively... minor. And that's a good thing to be. But is there more?

Glenn Kenny

@ jim: I don't know. But I'm afraid you're speaking in categories that never really...mattered to me much. I understand it's pretty hoary, when the question is raised, to invoke Jane Austen and her "little bits of ivory" on which she "work[ed] with so fine a brush," so I'll quote Kingsley Amis instead, taking off about Elizabeth Taylor and her splendid book "Angel" (which was made into a splendidly odd film by François Ozon): "....her masterpiece 'Angel' was chosen as one of the Book Marketing Council's 'Best Novels of Our Times.' Paul Johnson, normally a sensible enough critic, complained that it was not 'important' enough to be selected. Important! Fearful and contemporary word, smacking of the textbook, the lecture hall, the 'balanced appraisal.' So-and-so may be readable, interesting, entertaining, but is he important? Ezra Pound may be pretentious and dull, but you've got to admit he's ever so important. What? You haven't read Primo Levi (in translation, of course)? But he's important. As the philosopher J.L. Austin remarked in another context, importance isn't important. Good writing is."

The particulars aside—I like a lot of Pound, but he can, like Homer, nod, and nod like hell; and of course the gratuitous swipe at Levi, who was a superb writer indeed, is old Amis at his most automatically reactionary—I am entirely in sympathy with those sentiments. And as for Anderson, I DO think there's more of a there there, something Martin Scorsese pointed out when he talked about Wes's work a few years back in Premiere: the people in Anderson's work, the very vexed, often difficult people, are, beneath Anderson's dazzling surfaces, very trenchantly but humanely portrayed. That counts for a lot for me, as far as meaning and "more" is concerned.

Kent Jones

I'm glad that Mr. or Mrs. Facebook-502046184 loves Wes Anderson "as much as anyone else." Everywhere I go, I run into people who tell me how much they hate his movies, or how irrelevant they are, or how "male," or so on and so forth. But then, all due respect to Lester Bangs, but why should we all agree on Elvis or Spielberg or Pound or Anderson? That's when the trouble starts.

For my own part, I find his movies shattering. Funny, inventive, charming, etc. and so on, but fundamentally tough. Tough in the sense that Elvis Costello meant when he said he always asks himself when he's writing a song if it's as tough as Hank Williams. It was there right from the start, in BOTTLE ROCKET.

As an aside, I don't agree with their characterization of the movies, but Steely Dan's "open letters" to Wes and to Luke Wilson are very funny.

Ryland Walker Knight

I'm with Mr Jones

James Keepnews

Likewise -- plus, some love for Darjeeling. It trafficks in the same early Stones + portentous/twee-pans as in so many other previous Anderson werke. But I don't think I'm reading too much into Owen Wilson's subsequent desperate act to say that there's real agonizing in the midst of all the twee behavior -- and really, at his worst, Anderson is way portentous/twee -- there's no condescension towards South Asia and that picking up Dad's Mercedes with Barbet Schroeder may be the finest sequence in his career. I could pick it apart, but 3 year olds do that with complicated machinery every day, and what of it? The emotional impact of the film still resonates with me, and surely this is not inconsequential in one's appreciation of art? No? Great. Just checking.

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