The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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‘Darjeeling Limited’ an incredible journey

Director Wes Anderson is no artist. However, he might have had ambitions to create art or meaningful, long lasting stories, and he has done that with his new film.

But still, the title doesn’t really fit. Today, with the release of “The Darjeeling Limited,” he can now be properly known for what he really is: a visionary.

The movie opens up unconventionally with the short film “Hotel Chevalier” acting as part one to the story. The short (available for free on iTunes now) stars Anderson alumnus Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman as former lovers meeting in Paris for a weekend fling.

This bold technique allows Anderson the chance to both subtly insert some back-story for Schwartzman’s character later on in the film and to slowly begin immersing the audience in the realm of all things Anderson.

Once part two of the film starts up, the door the story picks up right where the short left off. Except now Schwartzman is on a train through India. Soon we’re introduced to the newest batch of kooky dysfunctional characters Anderson has worked up. You’ve got Schwartzman as the often ignored baby brother who doesn’t wear shoes, Adrien Brody as the misunderstood middle child with a pension for stealing and another Anderson veteran, Owen Wilson, as the overbearing eldest brother whose face is inexplicably covered in bandages.

At first glance nothing really seems too different in his formula here from past efforts. But don’t be fooled. This is not even close to a continuation of Anderson’s last film, the occasionally brilliant “The Life Aquatic.” While pacing problems and a slight lack of focus might have bogged down “Aquatic,” this is a different kind of movie entirely. Anderson makes no fuss in letting you know that.

He weaves this tale of three brothers on a spiritual journey into one of the most moving and inspirational ruminations on the struggles it takes to make a family work ever captured on film.

It’s just this spirit of reflection and regret that allows Anderson’s caring touch to do wonders with this film. His vision has never been more defined or totally encompassing. The cinematography and usage of color in the movie is worth the price of admission alone. Everything from shots of waves of people scurrying through the inner cities of India to mountaintop ascents in the Himalayas are nothing short of breathtaking.

It’s clear that not only has Anderson crafted a pitch-perfect completely engrossing world, but for the first time he has truly harnessed his locale and used it as a totally separate element to the story.

And the magic doesn’t rust there. Schwartzman, Brody and Wilson are unbeatable as three squabbling brothers attempting to reconnect on a train ride through India. As they make their way through the Indian countryside in search of enlightenment, it seems as though they’ve never stretched themselves this much for a roll.

But while both Schwartzman’s and Wilson’s performances are almost unparalleled, one person does rise above and beyond expectations. Brody, a rookie to Anderson’s films, is surprisingly brilliant and hilarious as the awkward and constantly lying middle child. Not only has he never been funnier, but he wears Anderson’s material like a true seasoned pro.

By the time the train has left the tracks and the amber dust has settled, it’s clear just how essential and moving a film this. This is one trip you can take this fall that’s guaranteed to do more than take you places you never imagined you’d go. It’ll inspire you.

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