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The Darjeeling Limited - Preview & US reaction

The Darjeeling Limited

Preview by Jack Foley

THE Darjeeling Limited marks the fifth film from director Wes Anderson and is another that explores the complications of family ties in humourous and often poignant ways.

It follows the fortunes of three American brothers (played by Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody) who have not spoken to each other in a year as they 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 to be.

Their “spiritual quest” veers rapidly off-course, however, 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 11 suitcases, a printer and a laminating machine.

At this moment, a new, unplanned journey suddenly begins that will reunite them with an estranged family member and help them to overcome the loss of another.

Anderson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Schwartzman and Roman Coppola, says the film combines three of his interests – trains, India and brothers.

“I’d always wanted to make a movie on a train because I like the idea of a moving location,” he explains. “I already set a movie on a boat.”

Commenting on India, he adds: “It’s really not like any place else. It’s a place where so many aspects of daily life are so radically different from our own, and that really affected the screenplay.

“Even though 90% of the story is about Francis, Peter and Jack [Whitman] negotiating, arguing and trying to understand one another, we felt it was very important to have those conversations take place on train tracks truly moving through this ancient country.”

The film will close this year’s London Film Festival but has already opened to widespread acclaim in America.

The New York Times wrote that it is “unstintingly fussy, vain and self-regarding. But it is also a treasure: an odd, flawed, but nonetheless beautifully handmade object as apt to win affection as to provoke annoyance. You might say that it has sentimental value.” opined: “It’s bliss for the Anderson devotee; a lateral cinematic move for the filmmaker, but one of immense merit and continuous enchantment.”

Village Voice stated that it’s “a companion piece to [The Royal] Tenenbaums more than a step in new directions, Darjeeling is a movie about people trapped in themselves and what it takes to get free…”

And Entertainment Weekly raved: “This is familiar territory for Anderson after Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. But there’s a startling new maturity in Darjeeling, a compassion for the larger world that busts the confines of the filmmaker’s miniaturist instincts.”

The film is also notable for two more things: an excellent cameo from Bill Murray that’s odd but spot-on, and a 10-minute introductory short, entitled Hotel Chevalier, that introduces the Schwartzman character and his difficult relationship with a mysterious woman (played brilliantly by Natalie Portman).

We urge you to catch it when the film premieres at the London Film Festival. Otherwise, it’s out in the UK on November 23.

Watch the trailer