DVD reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
comedy DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
DVD reviews, previews and info - comedy
  action movies on DVD
  animation on DVD
  art house and international / foreign language films on DVD
  comedies on DVD
  documentaries on DVD
  dramas on DVD
  children's and family DVDs
  horror and sci-fi on DVD
  suspense on DVD
  television series on DVD
  Blu-ray DVD reviews


The Darjeeling Limited - comedy DVD / family and children's DVD review
THE DARJEELING LIMITED rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 5 stars
Actors: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Amara Karan
Director: Wes Anderson   Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release:26 February 2008   Runtime: 91 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 2.0 - Spanish), The short film "Hotel Chevalier," Behind-the-scenes documentary, Theatrical trailer, previews

Why, oh why can't there be more Wes Andersons in the world?

Probably because, in a sad commentary on the state of things, there is a limited audience for his brand of intelligent, idiosyncratic big-screen art. But, oh, how lucky are those in the know! The Darjeeling Limited is pure milk and honey to fans of his past quirk-fests (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), with brilliant casting and touching performances turned in by the leads.

A year after the taxicab v. pedestrian death of their father, the three estranged Whitman brothers embark on a journey by train across India at the urging of oldest child Francis (Owen Wilson), ostensibly to renew their fraternity. In truth, the three are searching - for themselves; for their absent mother (Anjelica Huston), now a nun leading a remote Indian Catholic community; and for peace with their pasts, presents and futures. Brother Peter (Adrien Brody in a suprising but inspired bit of casting), who was with their father when he died, seems to be grieving longer and harder than his siblings. He carries the old man's car keys and wears his oversized prescription glasses that induce temple-splitting headaches. Set precariously off-balance at the impending birth of his first child, he's come to India without his wife's knowledge.

Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman in a welcome return to the screen with a leading role) has fled Paris after a bittersweet reunion with his girlfriend (Natalie Portman), a piece of backstory filled in by the short film "Hotel Chevalier" - or Part One of movie proper. His stories are filled with characters he insists are "completely fictional" but are obviously thinly disguised versions of himself and his family. Take-charge Francis's head is wrapped in bandages following a traffic accident, the details of which emerge as the journey progresses and reveal the deep inner misery he and his family all try with little success to mask.

Between dragging along the ridiculous amount of baggage they carry (literally embodied by the precarious towers of their dead father's bulky vintage luggage they've split amongst themselves), their melancholy penchant for parsimoniously sharing secrets that they're unable to fully keep, and their woeful attempts at shamanic spiritualist rituals, the Whitman boys manage to get kicked off the movie's eponymous train for a variety of offenses including (but not limited to) Jack boffing the conductor's girlfriend, Peter bringing aboard and accidentally loosing a deadly venomous snake, and harassing some loud German women who are also passengers. After being ignominiously jettisoned in the middle of nowhere, their ultimate redemption begins with their attempted rescue of three boys whose raft they see upended in a fast-flowing river. One of the boys drowns ("I didn't save mine," a bloodied Peter mourns as he emerges from the water with the limp child in his arms), and the brothers somberly bear the body to the village of his family.

The villagers treat them with respect even in their collective sorrow. When they are invited to the nearly immediate funeral, an eerily beautiful affair draped everywhere in white, the weight that they still only vaguely understand is at last cast off. When they finally reach their mother's sanctuary, her embrace and subsequent re-disappearance lift the final shroud, leaving them able to face their lives with a tentative bravery.

Stunning cinematography of a region (and a train) unfamiliar to Westerners, a parenthetical cameo by Bill Murray as a traveling businessman, and an eclectic soundtrack that culls songs from Bengali cinema legend Satyajit Ray's movies and throws in classic Kinks and Stones tunes tie the bow around Wes Anderson's gift to viewers. This is a sweet, sad, funny film that deserves every bit of appreciation it gets.
  buy this DVD now or browse millions of other great products at amazon.com
reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing
    action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television    
    browse DVDs alphabetical by title    
    contact | home