The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Darjeeling Limited</strong> (2007)

(In French, On Cable TV, October 2015)  I didn’t start liking Wes Anderson’s films until Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom, and my exasperation at his first few films had led me to skip The Darjeeling Limited until now.  Alas, it turns out that The Darjeeling Limited owes a lot more to Anderson’s first few films than the latter, more accessible ones.  Here, we’re back to the precious twee sensibilities of his early career, with an overly complicated family relationship being overshadowed by showy cinematography and a strange sense of humor that feels odd if you’re not in on the joke.  It does actually work, albeit in occasional moments: The camera works is especially good in comedy scenes, whipping from one character to another.  Occasional lines are droll, while the Indian scenery is different enough to be interesting.  The film also has the good sense to end on Joe Dassin’s insanely-catchy “Les Champs-Élysées”, which is good for a few days’ worth of sporadic humming.  On the other hand, it’s hard not to feel that the film runs too long, especially during the third act as the characters disembark the Darjeeling.  But tight accessible films weren’t (and maybe still aren’t) Anderson’s specialty — it would take until his last few efforts for other qualities to take over and make for great films.  Hopefully, The Darjeeling Limited is the last time Anderson’s bad quirks would overwhelm his better ones.  Bilingual viewers may want to note that seeing the film in French makes an odd film even more delightfully odd given the original’s script’s francophilia.

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