The Darjeeling Limited takes the emotion of sorrow and turns it into a comedic train trip. Anderson’s quirky directing style is now a trademark, film aficionados know whether they are watching an Anderson film or not. Fortunately, his style captures different cultures extremely methodically, this time the spiritual aspects of India. Three estranged brothers embark on a train journey across India in an attempt to bond together after the funeral of their father. Their personal lives intervene with certain motives becoming clearer as the train nears its final destination.
The beauty of this offbeat comedy is the sorrowful undertone that it presents. These brothers are clearly hurting inside and are attempting to recover from a great loss in their life. The journey seems random at first, but as the plot progresses it starts to make sense as to why they chose to ride The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson portrays India beautifully, plenty of vibrant colours and intriguing processions that captures the pure essence of their culture. The production design of the train was exceptionally authentic, a creative scene towards the end allows Anderson to pan the camera across multiple carriages consecutively. Creatively genius as always.
Wilson, Brody and Schwartzman are able to switch instantly from being funny and witty to heartfelt and sarcastic. Idiosyncrasies are planted throughout to give these characters life. Deceased father’s prescribed glasses, constantly consuming Indian medicine and even purchasing a poisonous cobra. It’s not overly hilarious, but enough to make you chuckle. The narrative, like a train, loses steam towards the end where a ninety minute runtime feels like two hours. It could’ve ended on three different occasions and annoyingly just kept on rolling. Some of the antics are quickly resolved and never referred back to, such as the cobra escape, which also felt spontaneous in itself. These could’ve been pushed harder to create some more memorable scenes. All in all, another decent film from Anderson who’s unique style always captures my interest.