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Tue, Nov 21, 2017 01:27 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Angelica Houston lends some class to new Wes Anderson film


by DNA Smith


ARH
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11/21/2007 - "The Darjeeling Limited"

Running time: 91 minutes

MPAA rating: R

Usually when reviewing a film by Wes Anderson, critics spend a good 20 minutes looking up synonyms for "quirky." Not so with Anderson's latest film. When it comes to describing how I feel about "The Darjeeling Limited," I'll be rifling through the thesaurus for synonyms for "I don't care."

This story about three emotionally crippled brothers reuniting a year after their father's funeral wavers between mind-numbingly dull to outright insulting in its ham-fisted metaphors. To give you an example: The three brothers are carrying a lot of emotional baggage since their father's death. To represent that, Anderson has them schlepping around India with 11 pieces of their late father's luggage. Baggage. Get it?

And the moral of the story is that we all live our lives in tiny, self-absorbed compartments, while life passes us by. In case you didn't understand the movie during the first 80 minutes, Anderson shows every character in the film in their own train compartment on an imaginary Darjeeling Limited, totally oblivious to the scenery passing them by.

Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman play the three brothers. For most of the film, Anderson has them framed in constricting 3-shots (another "compartmentalizing" visual metaphor). Brody does a good job with what little the script gives him to work with. Wilson and Schwartzman basically play the same characters you see them playing in their other films — only more sad.

Angelica Houston, thankfully, appears briefly to class-up the film and give it a jolt of energy. But other than that, "The Darjeeling Limited" is on a track to nowhere.

GRADE: C-

(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.

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