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.