February 12, 2008

I'm looking for baggage that goes with mine

I love trains and I would love to go on a spiritual journey through India. That's probably what drew me to The Darjeeling Limited. It is the story of three semi-estranged brothers traveling by rail to find their mother (Anjelica Huston). She ran off to a convent in the Himalayas after the death of their father. Like The Royal Tenenbaums, director Wes Anderson once again looks at a privileged but dysfunctional family. The Whitmans (Francis, Jack and Peter---Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody) are not particularly likable. They haul around an enormous set of customized luggage, and even bigger emotional baggage. Predictably, they literally shed their 'Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton' luggage set as they re-connect with each other.

It's like a road trip/buddy movie with offbeat, flawed characters. It's nice to see Adrien Brody in a partly comedic role. The production values are outstanding. My favorite scene was an Indian funeral, so gorgeous and moving. Watch for a nearly wordless but heartbreaking performance from The Namesake's Irrfan Khan as a grieving father. Some people might say this subplot was unnecessary but I thought it was essential for the Whitman boys' grieving and bonding process.

The DVD will be available 26 February and will include the short film Hotel Chevalier. It's sort of Jack Whitman's back story featuring a nekkid Natalie Portman as his ex-girlfriend.

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