So Wes Anderson has got us boarding his pretty little bus to Destination Twee, but this time it doesn’t make an extended layover at the Self Indulgence Motel.
Darjeeling Limited really fucked me off. It shouldn’t have done. I like all the actors, and the thing look gorgeous, just some parts of it stuck in my craw. The exoticism fetish was a big part of it, I think, though surely one should be able to forgive that with a filmmaker who very clearly builds fictional, heightened realities. Maybe it was the bit where Adrian Brodey, after going after some kids struggling in a river, held a dead child in his arms and says “I didn’t save my one.” My one? Like it was a competition. Ugh.
Moonrise has the flooding motif again, but no dead kids, just smart kids (though, being fair, it does have some severely injured ones).
This flick is, stylistically, classic Anderson, but I think it’s the first film of his in a long time where that expression has married so well with the plot. It perfectly suits both the 60s setting and the kids-as-adult theme. That’s what Anderson’s all about, really. The little made large.
Small jobs taken extremely seriously.
Scouts as more than quasi-military.
Children making grand declarative statements about love and painting evocative nudes.
It shouldn’t really come off, but it’s the sheer confidence in the vision that lets this movie fly and draws you into the microcosm it sets up even if you usually hate this sort of movie. The charm is hard to deny.
The composition is his usual mix of extremely balanced/extremely unbalanced flat frames, that are relieved by a good deal of tracking, which seems to have become his new thing, though the old standby whip pans are in there. A deep depth of field throughout shows off the locations at their best, and makes it all very painterly. In fact, I’d like to believe this was a movie formed from a series of striking images and a plot built around it. The story is quite thin, but it doesn’t matter since you enjoy all the little moments that form it and it resolves satisfactorily. Good on you, Wes.