Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited

There was a time, pre-the boy, when I frequented the DVD rental shop to grab whatever arthouse flicks took my fancy. Sometimes my choices were grim, other times they were almost life-changingly inspirational, most of the time they were sub-titled.

But two things happened to change that weekly arthouse DVD-choosing ritual: 1. the boy, who only tolerates a very limited amount of exposure to pregnant silences, tangential plotlines and lack of references to graphic novel characters; 2. the boy's preference for buying DVD's instead of renting them.

But it's a joy when we find something that pleases us both - The Darjeeling Limited.

Quirky, it is.
The mini-movie at the beginning (which appears to be an enactment of the writer-brother's new short story, a stylised-version of his actual past) was a bit odd. But that was not helped by the fact that we were having dinner at the time and couldn't make out most of the too-quiet dialogue. Bill Murray, as an almost-background figure, appears for about 2 minutes at the beginning and 5 seconds near the end. Owen Wilson shows he can do stuff that isn't just silly-funny; he can also do poignant. He's the one who has a PA on board the train, organising every moment of their soul-searching train trip, and the one who, it turns out, sounds just like his mother. The middle brother purloins items from their dead father's wardrobe, including a pair of over-sized prescription sunglasses. The younger one, the writer, lusts after the train stewardess. All three of them have brought on board over-the-counter drugs to get high on.

It's quirky, but it's all heart. It's really a story about family relationships - between brothers, and between parents and children - and about accepting that those relationships aren't perfect but should be cherished anyway.

I did have one nit-pick though. Why on earth did the head steward of a train in India, have an American accent? I'd have expected an Indian accent or a British one.


Anonymous said...

I have to confess I didn't notice the steward's accent at all..... I was too mesmerised by the weird bruises on Natalie Portman. We loved the Darjeeling Limited and bought the soundtrack, so we can listen to 'Oh Champs Elysee' when we're in Paris!!

Make Tea Not War said...

I liked the Darjeeling Limited. It was quite visually stunning. I wish they'd explained what Bill Murray was about though

Nigel Patel said...

Now I want to see it.
I'll add it in as I pick up The Bank Job and Absolute Beginners.

Violet said...

donnasoowho: I was a bit lost by that whole Natalie Portman episode!

mtnw: my guess is that it's just their surreal touch.

nigel: Let me know what you think of The Bank Job - the boy loves a good heist movie.

Desiree said...

Maybe the head steward had an American accented teacher? I remember once speaking with a couple of Indian students - one had an American accent and the other a very British accent. Kind of did my head in until they explained that their respective English teachers spoke with these accents so they'd just picked it up and it had stuck.

Violet said...

desiree: or maybe he once trained as a call centre operator.