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Masand's Verdict:The Darjeeling Limited

Apr 26, 2008 12:28 AM IST India India
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Cast: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman
Director: Wes Anderson

I can't think of too many recent American films I'd recommend as strongly as I do The Darjeeling Limited.

If you're familiar with the films of Wes Anderson, then you've probably seen this one already, it's been out on DVD for some time now.

But if you haven't seen it, and even if you aren't familiar with Wes Anderson's movies, I'd still suggest you head to the multiplexes this week, it's a remarkably funny little film with the quirkiest of characters you're likely to find.

To categorize it quite simply, The Darjeeling Limited is a road movie. It's about three brothers who haven't been in touch since the death of their father, who've come together for a reunion of sorts in India.

The whole trip is the brainchild of Owen Wilson who plays eldest brother Francis Whitman. Gathering his estranged younger brothers Peter and Jack (played by Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman respectively), Francis embarks on a spiritual journey across Rajasthan on board The Darjeeling Limited, a plush Orient Express-style locomotive.

The idea is to bring the family closer, to reunite with their mother - who's living in India as a nun - and to understand the meaning of life.

Things don't quite go according to plan - they never do in Wes Anderson's films. Just minutes after they climb aboard the train, they're drinking, smoking, popping pills and stealing each other's possessions.

The beauty of this film is that by the end, and mostly by accident or destiny, the brothers do come closer, they do meet their mother, and in a sense, they do learn some important lessons about life.

The reason I enjoyed this film so much is because it's inherently funny and it's bittersweet at the same time. These are characters that'll make you laugh but you can understand them and possibly relate to them too.

Like most American films shot in India , The Darjeeling Limited also exploits our country for its exotic value, but this time you're not terribly offended because the tone's never condescending or humiliating.
It's an engaging film with marvelous performances by all three leads; it's the kind of film that makes for a great evening watch with a group of friends.

That's three out of five and a thumbs up for Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, keep your eyes out for a small but meaningful cameo by Irrfan Khan.

My guess is you're going to want to watch more films by the same director, here's a tip - start with The Royal Tenenbaums, it's another little gem.

Rating: 3 / 5 (Good)