Unlimited Appeal

Is Wes Anderson a Genius?

“What Wes Anderson has done with The Darjeeling Limited is craft a masterpiece that eschews all the criticism for his previous work. . . The Darjeeling Limited is basically a collection of short stories with the same three recurring characters. The film is indeed episodic, but in a good way, with a narrative thru-line that helps carry the emotional baggage (pun intended) throughout the journey. . . it wouldn’t surprise me if the film were made in the 70’s. It didn’t remind me of any modern day films, instead conjuring up The Passenger or the Apu films or The 400 Blows. But it still felt original, like it was a unique and modern film, only with hints of where film has gone before. . .While I don’t think this film is on par with The Royal Tenenbaums, it is still a small masterpiece that stands up to Rushmore and is miles beyond The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”

Anne Thompson of Variety.com is one of many who call Darjeeling Wes’ best since Rushmore:

“Darjeeling is gorgeous to look at, full of the hum and vibrancy of India, quirky, delightfully detailed, and often funny. . . a satisfying entertainment.”

San Diego City Beat agrees:

“The Darjeeling Limited isn’t a particularly complex film, and that actually makes it stronger . . . It’s easy to say this is just another film about spoiled man-children who are unable to deal with the realities of life, and that enlightenment, spiritual or otherwise, can’t be purchased through a travel agent. And you’d be right. But that’s the point, and that’s exactly why Wes Anderson has gotten back on track. Because, grasshopper, sometimes enlightenment is found when you stop looking for it.”

The Onion A.V. Club interviews Wes:

Any time someone doesn’t like one on the first run, I hope they will give it another shot. At least we’ll get another chance. But I do feel, in my approach, I am not really a minimalist. I don’t like to leave out ideas that I think could add something to the story. Sometimes, you can’t quite pick up on all of it in one sitting. It’s not by design. But maybe it’s a side effect of my approach.”

The Onion also gives us 10 Films That Couldn’t Have Happened Without Wes Anderson, and 16 Films Without Which Wes Anderson Couldn’t Have Happened

Scribe Life/Folio Weekly says it’s all played for laughs, except when it’s not:

“The most oddly affecting little movie of the season. It’s funny, goofy and genuinely sweet.”

Baltimore City Paper interviews Wes:

“Honestly, I’m not making movies where I think, `Let me see how weird this can be,'” Anderson defends himself. “With [Darjeeling] our credo was, How personal can we make it? . . . When I make a movie about India, I make it from the point of view of a foreigner.”

Huffington Post has a piece by Darjeeling set designer Mark Friedberg:

“Wes had refused the traditional approach of building an interior set on a stage and the fate of the film was in the balance. Having intimate insight into the process I can safely say that the film almost didn’t happen. Many sleepless nights in the bed of the designer and the producer were had leading up to the beginning of our shooting schedule. On the night the train arrived the entire crew showed up at the shop and cheered.”

The Willamette Week raves:

“Nothing in the film matches the dull inevitability of its reviews . . . And there’s something about that first Darjeeling image, two men sprinting in slow motion for a train, that brings to mind The Great Gatsby ’s famous words about how “tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further….” Wes Anderson beats on, while his characters are borne back ceaselessly into their pasts.”

Here’s a fun ‘behind the scenes’ video from the Venice Film Festival – thanks, Stretch!

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