The Darjeeling Limited

The Darjeeling Limited(2007) directed and written by Wes Anderson (along with co-writers Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman), is a story about three brothers, Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman), attempting to reconnect after not having spoken for a year. Francis, having survived a motorcycle accident feels the need to reconcile, and has arranged a train trip on the Darjeeling Limited through India, with stops in between to visit local temples as the backdrop for their ‘spiritual journey’. They start out distrustful of each other, ever since drifting apart after their father’s funeral; Francis, as the eldest of the brothers assumed responsibility for the other two, and micromanages their travel arrangements, (complete with a laminated itinerary, which is slipped under the door of their compartment each morning) while Peter and Jack grudgingly comply.

Francis: I guess I’ve still got a lot of healing to do. 
Jack: Gettin’ there, though. 
Peter: Anyway, it’s definitely going to add a lot of character to you. 

Alongside the whimsical dialogue and character of the film, there are also more serious undertones; it’s clear all three are still processing the death of their father, signaled by the constant squabbling over who is entitled to his possessions, and each struggling with issues of their own. Soon enough, their journey gets derailed when they are kicked off the train in the middle of nowhere, (after accidentally letting a lethal snake loose, and abusing cough medicine) along with their 11 matching bags, and they are thrust into the real India, where healing can begin.

Drawing inspiration from the films The River by French filmmaker Jean Renoir, and documentaries on India by Louis Malle, Anderson has brought to life a warm, vibrant Indiaperfectly in tune with a wonderful score featuring Satyajit Ray (to whom the film is dedicated) and  The Kinks. Also, accompanying The Darjeeling Limited is a short film, Hotel Chevalier, which gives some background details to the story. Perhaps warmth is what best describes Darjeeling Limited, in all it’s quirkyness and deadpan humor; there is something contagiously uplifting about the film as a whole, in addition to the comedy arising from the interaction between the three brothers.


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