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: