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DVD Review: The Darjeeling Limited
The Whitman brothers shop for dangerous pets in an Indian village | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
I'll lead this review by saying,"If only the DVD of The Darjeeling Limited were as rich and strange as the film, The Darjeeling Limited." The film is one of Wes Anderson's best tales of whimsy and familial dysfunction. Three brothers who've long since grown apart decide to travel across India on a sort of spiritual odyssey that ends, fittingly, at the base of the Himalaya where they encounter their long-lost mother. As with any road movie, the point is really the journey and not the destination and this journey is a joy to watch.
Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody play the oddest set of brothers you're ever likely to encounter. Wilson is the suicidal eldest who longs to be a father figure to his brothers. He's prone to ordering their food for them and taking away their passports so they can't abandon him. Schwartzman is a vaguely confused but seriously effective Lothario who wanders the world in search of a home while Brody is almost the exact opposite--a happily married, expectant father who's terrified of marriage and fatherhood.
Thrown off the Darjeeling Limited, the Whitman brothers adapt their travel plans | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
The joint journey across India was a plan hatched by Wilson in an effort to finally reunite the family. It eventually does, but not even remotely in the way originally intended. Mostly this is because they are quickly thrown off the train (the titular Darjeeling Limited) for bringing a venomous cobra aboard and must quickly learn to fend for themselves in an utterly foreign land. Naturally--befitting Anderson--their ensuing adventures are a complex mash of unexpected silliness and jarring seriousness.
I won't say any more than that because a plot so strange and twisting deserves to be experienced without too much information beforehand. What I will say is that The Darjeeling Limited is Anderson's best movie since Rushmore and deserves a spot in your DVD library. The DVD itself is a little light (what I wouldn't do to get a commentary with Anderson, Wilson, Brody and Schwartzman!). You do get the short Hotel Chevalier which notably features Natalie Portman's bare ass. Other than that, though, there's only a 20-minute "walking tour" and a few deleted scenes. Let's a hope a Criterion version lies in the very near future.
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