Not Really My Cup of Tea
As someone who watches a lot of movies you find yourself longing for something which breaks the constant flow of mundane mainstream cinema and when you hear that certain movie is different it lifts your expectations. Unfortunately Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited" whilst certainly different didn't live up to my expectations as it tries to be offbeat funny whilst exploring the relationship of three brothers on a journey of growth. And that is the thing about offbeat movies, which "The Darjeeling Limited" is most certainly one off, as what one person may find funny or has some deeper meaning may not work for someone else. You end up feeling left on the outside wondering why everyone else is so enamoured with it or whether it is case that some have jumped on the praise bandwagon to seem cool. Don't get me wrong as "The Darjeeling Limited" is not terrible, I just didn't think it is as great as so many seem to think it is.
"The Darjeeling Limited" does have a storyline, although really quite a slim one as we watch the Whitman brothers come together for the first time since their father's funeral and go on a journey through India. Each has issues not only of their own but with each other as they have struggled individually since their father passed and eldest brother Francis hopes this journey will allow them to re-connect and have some spiritual growth. The thing is that in reality "The Darjeeling Limited" is a road trip movie, all but one which uses a train as a vehicle rather than a car, and as such what the movie is really about is a series of offbeat moments.
Now there are some fun offbeat moments none more so than early on when we see Bill Murray running for a train in India and Adrien Brody as Peter runs past him and gets the train. It is strangely funny and there are more of these genuinely funny scenes which bring a smile to your face especially when we have these three brothers who don't get on sharing a journey together. But as there are offbeat moments which work there are as many which don't and often these moments of off beat humour such as Peter buying a snake, Jack flirting with train waitress Rita and Francis's face injuries feel like they are personal jokes, an in joke for those behind the movie rather than those watching it. It is why it often feels like you are on the outside watching 3 grown men all with juvenile tendencies having a road trip through India.
And then there is the depth, the spiritual journey as these 3 brothers who don't get on grow, connect and understand as well as having epiphical moments. Whilst some may dig this journey of enlightenment and growth it again leaves you feeling as a bystander, watching these 3 brothers grow up rather than connecting with how they change. And to be honest it may be me but the whole spiritual side seemed quite shallow especially when you have the daftness of the ceremony featuring peacock feathers.
The irony of all this is that alongside some wonderful scenic shots of India "The Darjeeling Limited" is well cast with Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman all being quirkily different. Each of these actors do deliver off beat characters be it Wilson as Francis with all his bandages or Brody as Peter who wears his Dad's glasses and carries his car keys. They are interesting, it's just a shame that some of the stuff they get up to along the way ends up too daft.
What this all boils down to is that "The Darjeeling Limited" is not a bad movie but with so many heralding it as a great offbeat comedy it left me disappointed. It's just not as funny as I expected and it left me feeling an outsider watching a group of friends sharing some in-jokes. It does have some funny moments but they end up few and far between.