The Darjeeling Limited/Hotel Chevalier

Dan says:

Hotel Chevalier is the bonus short that serves as a prelude to the Darjeeling Ltd. It focuses on an extremely awkward and sexualdarjeeling.jpg encounter between two ex-lovers. You can watch the Darjeeling Limited without having seen Hotel Chevalier, but why wouldn’t you want to? Its a prequel of sorts, and even if you’re not into the artsy fun little connections it has to the film, remember you’re going to see Natalie Portman almost completely naked. Its win-win-really.

Wes Anderson is admittedly an acquired taste. It may take repeated viewings of his previous films to understand what is so great about his current films. His characters live in a world of ridiculous pastels, like its constantly Easter or a sidewalk chalk competition. Everyone has their own style, sweatbands, eyeliner, sunglasses, cigarettes, all things accessory. The camera will pan from a half mile away and focus on a rooftop conversation. These are things you come to expect, and Darjeeling Limited fits that bill.

Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman play three brothers with strange noses, on a whirlwind tour of India, attempting to reconnect after the death of their father has torn them apart. Where ever they go they seem to breed trouble, they destroy relationships, let loose snakes, and almost miss their train about twelve times. They’re the equivalent of the indie three stooges.

Perhaps one of the most interesting themes is that the three brothers wear their problems as accessories. The eldest has just recently been in a motorcycle accident and spends the majority of the film with his head wrapped in a gauze, hiding most of his face. At one point he loses an expensive shoe, and spends the rest of the film with his shoes mismatched. His inability to heal, dress, and fix his family makes him the struggling brother. The middle brother wears his late father’s prescription sunglasses everywhere he goes, giving him a tendency to not be able to let go of the past and move on indarjeeling2.jpg his life, to things like his newly pregnant wife. The youngest brother has long hair and a moustache, almost as if he is trying to hide who he is and separate himself from his family. There are also a series of ugly matching numbered suitcases that serve as an interesting touch, the brothers cart this physical and emotional baggage everywhere they go and its significance grows more clear as the film progresses.

Finding the film’s thematic parallels becomes a film major fun time game. You’ll notice that they never show their father’s funeral, but they will place a flashback to the day before right in the middle of an Indian funeral. You’ll realize more and more that the brothers were very much products of their eccentric parents, as the parallels between their mom’s dialogue and the oldest brother’s dialogue become clear. And even when they’re not rushing to get on a train, it seems they find a way to rush around barely meeting deadlines when they try to make their father’s funeral in New York.

One gets the feeling that India was made solely for Wes Anderson to do a quirky little film about it. The colors, the unusual people, the trinkets all fit Anderson’s world to a perfect T. He takes you on a delicious little character filled train ride, and as long as you can get over the expected stylistic choices that the director can’t resist you’ll enjoy an odd little film that brings you places you’ve never seen before. And isn’t that why you watch movies anyway?

Grade: 87


One Response to “The Darjeeling Limited/Hotel Chevalier”

  1. i loved hotel chevalier, but darjeeling lef the strange taste in my mouth… damn beer when wathing great movies… 😀

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