The Darjeeling Limited
Review By: Joe

This review kind of contains some spoilers, I guess, but then this movie barely has a plot, so whatever.

So I'm noticing that, suddenly, for no apparent reason, we're getting sort of a lot of visits (for us) again. I'm not going to pretend to understand why this is happening, but I figure I might as well strike while the iron is hot and write something else to keep this internet fire burning because I need internet visits to legitimize my life. Also, I should be writing essays, so I'll waste time and do this instead.

The Darjeeling Limited came out at least a billion years ago in most places, but I never saw it and I was in France when it happened to be out there so I got to see it in French with English subtitles and learned that the French, ironically, don't seem to have any word for "fuck" because they just translate it to "merde" which is the exact same word they use for "shit." I think they should be ashamed of themselves, frankly.

The Darjeeling Limited is the thirty-seventh movie by that wacky white boy, writer-director Wes Anderson. To be honest with you, I've never joined in on the collective throbbing hard-on that my generation is apparently supposed to have for the guy and I've never understood how his movies are supposed to be an accurate representation of us kids. I mean, yeah, I'm white and my parents have some money and I'm not really all that happy, but I don't ooze quirkiness like all the characters in his movies. Plus, I like how this depiction of our generation completely excludes non-rich non-whites. Seems a bit short-sighted, really.

Wes brainstorms over a glass of water and semen, emphasis on semen.

Anyway, I thought Rushmore was fine, but I didn't really understand why there was so much love and I kept trying to find reasons to love it more because I felt pressured to by my peers. Same for The Royal Tannenbaums. I seem to be the only person who likes The Life Aquatic the most of Wes' films (I think my generation is annoyed because the lead character is too old to be them, though he is still white and sort of rich) because it seemed to be far more aware of how phenomenally stupid it was, as opposed to the other films that were pretty stupid and acknowledged this, but also seemed to think they were saying something rather profound about familial relations. Although, of course, The Life Aquatic suddenly gets ridiculously dramatic halfway through with the introduction of a death (a gimmick which is basically completely emulated in this latest movie too), but I choose to ignore that. Bottle Rocket is okay.

Anyway, The Darjeeling Limited is Wes' new movie about disaffected rich, white guys and it's the worst one. The other ones were fine, but this one falls into the realm of bad on several occasions. The problem here, I think, is that, somehow, the whole thing just reeks of self-certainty. Wes Anderson has a nasty habit of casting THE EXACT SAME FUCKING PEOPLE IN EVERY SINGLE MOVIE HE MAKES, which is a stupid-ass idea, because it gives you the feeling of watching the exact same movie every time; this is further exacerbated by the fact that it sort of is the exact same movie every time. This also sort of gives off the impression that Wes feels as if he's been doing everything right from the get-go, otherwise, he'd maybe try something else to see how it would fit, but, if it ain't evidently broke, yadda yadda yadda.

The problem is that this guy has such a huge fanbase dangling tenaciously from the tip of his weenis that I suppose he has, at this point, come to the conclusion that everything he does is good. So, in this case, we have a movie that feels so unflinchingly positive of what it is doing that it wasn't even made for us to watch, so much as it was for Wes and his rat pack. To wit, Jason Schwartzman (or Wes Anderson staple actor #1) actually wrote the screenplay with Wes this time (and involved one of his cousins as well or something). This probably accounts for why his character gets to make out with a naked Natalie Portman and a hot Indian chick. I don't know if Jason is a mack-daddy in real life, but I know I wouldn't want to get with him as I believe he has an overly large nose and a head resembling that of an eggplant.

Jason Schwartzman

The problem with the film is threefold, I would say. The first issue is, again, this feels like familiar territory for Wes Anderson and his "rich white people so sad" shtick is wearing thin. Secondly, the stuff that is supposed to be meaningful and give the plot some pertinence is sloppily dropped in as though someone had just learned how to do this kind of thing from a screenplay-writing class (which is maybe Jason's input, I dunno). For example, Jason Schwartzman's character is a published author in the film (irony!!?) and keeps showing his brothers his recent writings, which are all basically taken from his real life. When they comment on how they liked how he represented them or himself or others in the work, he says "All of my characters are fictional." In one of the closing scenes (the dialogue to which is rambled off in an unrealistic, shit fashion), when one of the brothers tells him "I like how mean you are" in his new story, he responds "All of my characters are... Thanks." OH YOU SEE GUYS?! HE HAS ACCEPTED THAT ALL OF HIS WRITINGS ARE THINLY VEILED AUTOBIOGRAPHY!! Not only do I not care, the way these lines are placed throughout the film, it just seems like you're looking at the flow chart they used to write the script.

The third problem is that, although I can understand that there are parts like this that are supposed to be the characters overcoming emotional hurdles, I never really get why these things are supposed to be important at all, so I end up not really giving a shit. Like I said, I don't think it's such a big deal that Jason (I can't remember the characters' names and I couldn't during the film either) likes to pretend his characters are fictional when they are not. That doesn't seem to be a big deal to me at all. But there are far worse examples of this. YES, I'M GOING TO TELL YOU THEM.

Owen Wilson's character has this obsession with getting his two brothers (Jason and Adrien Brody, who somehow got on board the Anderson fun-train this time around, probably through some kind of pagan cult initation) to do this stupid thing with some feathers that is supposed to be very spiritual and bring them closer together and junk. However, they keep fucking it up somehow, until the ending when they do it right. OOH I SEE! NOW THEY ARE CLOSER TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY DONE DID IT! However, there's really no reason given for us to care about this feather garbage. It's more just "oh they didn't do it right, they didn't do it right, now they did...I guess that's supposed to be good." Incidentally, the scene in which Owen presents the feather to his brothers one last time is so poorly done that it made me squirm in embarassment. I'm not sure if I can explain why, it had something to do with bad acting and simply unrealistic behavior.

Then we have stuff from the character's pasts that is supposed to be important too, but, again, I don't fucking know why! How the fuck should I know if you won't tell me, Westerson!? One is a flashback to when the boys were on their way to their father's funeral and Adrien Brody decides to flip out and go pick up his father's fancy red sports car in the shop so that he can drive it to the funeral. This is very important to Adrien and that's about all we get. I don't know why it's important to him and the entire scene is a load of nonsense in which they try to get the car running and completely fail and then just put it back in the garage. WEE! Why are you wasting my time?

We also have a short film that was evidently not originally included with the movie, but they started putting in front of (which is how I saw it) or in the middle of it in later screenings, which is wise, because there are references made to the thing that would become non-sequiturs without it (Natalie Portman only appears in the short film and then for a brief shot in the middle of the movie, which means, without the short film, there was just a random shot of Natalie Portman that probably confused the fuck out of everybody). That said, although it puts this stuff in context, it doesn't make it any more meaningful. The short film, which Wes just needs to own up and admit is part of the main film because on its own it's thoroughly pointless, is a wank of a thing that has Jason and Natalie farting around his hotel room in Paris doing a whole lot of nothing and then making out. A couple of things are said and done that hint at the idea of being important somehow, but, again, we're just left to speculate. In fact, there's something that exemplifies the entire problem with the short film and the movie.

Whilst making out and getting to look right at Natalie Portman's titties, Jason Schwartzman notices that she has bruises on her arm. "You have bruises on your arm," says he. She ignores the observation and continues making out with him. We get nothing else about the arm. So why is this in there? We can only speculate. But, see, there's a difference between leaving something open-ended enough that speculating about it is actually worthwhile and just tossing in some out-of-left-field bollocks. If we know enough about characters and events, leaving something slightly ambiguous is a really nice idea, because then things aren't so blatantly wrapped up in a way that makes us feel like we're being told how to feel and what to think. If we know enough about the characters, it can actually be fun to muse upon these unclear things about them. Also, if there are a few more hints about the ambiguous thing, then it feels as though there might be something there to actually think about.

When you just slap bruises on somebody we know shit nothing about and then make the other character go, "YO YOU GOTS BRUISES," we learn nothing and we can glean nothing further. This is not a brilliant inclusion in any way. Yes, you can speculate on it, but it's such a lazy thing that you can go in literally any direction with it. My personal assumption is that Natalie Portman was kidnapped by pirate donkeys who, after keeping her in the donkey brig for a few months, made her do a little dance and pretend she was the donkey in an ironic little twist, shouting "hee-haw" and other such donkey-based rhetoric. Then, they had her walk the donkey plank. She fell into the sea and drifted for a few days before waking up on a deserted isle, in which she kept lighting fires in the shape of the words "I AM NATALIE PORTMAN, COME AND RESCUE ME!" but the only chopper in the area was piloted by a pervy guy who insisted, by shouting from the window of his vehicle, that he wouldn't save her unless she got nekkid first, which is something she insisted she'd only do in the case of a crappy Wes Anderson short, so she denied him his request for a good long while, then remembered she had her cell phone and called her parents who came and picked her up. When she got home, her mischevious brother (or some other relative if she doesn't have a brother) jokingly gave her a punch in the arm, which was harder than he meant for it to be, and bruised her pretty bad. I'm pretty sure my interpretation is the correct one.

Basically, it's the bruises and nothing but the bruises. Just like in the other scenes I mentioned where it was the sports car and nothing but the sports car or the feather and nothing but the feather. This movie presents a lot of nonsensical shit, gives us the briefest whiff of it having some sort of emotional significance and then goes, "See how great?" No, no I don't.

Also, the music is boring, slow, and shitty.

Also, I had no major opinions about him either way before, but this movie made me think Owen Wilson is pretty much a bad actor.

Also, Wes Anderson's direction is kind of cool sometimes but that whole whipping around from character to character thing and the rather overdone use of slow-motion gets really annoying really fast.

That said, I've seen worse films and I chuckled a few times. I guess I would say The Darjeeling Limited is an okay-enough distraction, but, then again, you could also watch a good movie. You do get to see Natalie Portman's ass, but I assume the internet has a copy of that lying around somehwere that it'd be more than happy to lend you.

I think we're done here.

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