Article in Bright Lights Film Journal, and Detour Magazine Video Interview

From “Wes’s World” in the February 2008 issue of the Bright Lights Film Journal:

At the heart of Wes Anderson’s self-conscious aesthetic is a curious sort of paradox: on the one hand, he’s a light dreamy enchanter, marshalling a cavalcade of nonstop whimsy and farce that, somehow, he has combined with the strict rigorous cineastic vision of an Antonioni, manifesting itself in muted performances, gruelingly controlled sets, and staging measured to within an inch of its life. I am reminded of a scene in Kubrick’s The Shining where I got so distracted by the amusing pictures of sexy, funky, afro-headed nudes hanging on Scatman Crothers’ walls that I couldn’t pay any attention to what he was seeing on television; at odds with their corny-sleazy purpose as characterization, the pictures seemed to have been arranged with the symmetry and calculation of a coy museum curator. It is a similar effect — art-gallery precision misapplied to screwball comedy — that Anderson makes deliberate use of as a subtle joke, a neurotic element of his humorous vision. In the decade since his reputation first erupted, his unique manner has infected movie comedies in a big way — just as Tim Burton’s style has become the gold standard for cute spookiness. You see it in movies like Election (1999); a beloved cult favorite like Napoleon Dynamite (2004); as well as in forgettable efforts like Running with Scissors (2006).

… and a video from Detour Magazine:

One Reply to “Article in Bright Lights Film Journal, and Detour Magazine Video Interview”

  1. That Bright Lights review is harsh. I feel like the symbolism in TDL isn’t as obvious as some of the reviewers claim it is. Yes it’s clear that the shedding of the suitcases represents more than just lost luggage, but it doesn’t end there. They get on the train, going nowhere in particular, and are without any comforts. I don’t think it ties it up neatly, the movie pretty much leaves the brothers where we found them , if only a little more bonded. Maybe the grand gesture at the end stands out more because the rest of the movie is comparably subtle.

    I will concede the structural similarities to TLA though. There’s a death, and they keep pressing on in their journey. Seymour Cassell becomes their father, Ned becomes the Indian boy, and The Jaguar Shark becomes Angelica Houston. Why the doesn’t bother me is because that’s the way it is with most directors. They have a certain taste, and that taste is reflected in the way they tell a story. I’d be interested to see how he adapts someone else’s story in The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Leave a Reply