The Darjeeling Limited
A Film by Wes Anderson
Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2007
Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman
First off, this isn't really an Indian story. Wes Anderson's films are primarily dysfunctional family studies but in this iteration India is not only the backdrop, it becomes a character in its own right. The Whitman brothers (Francis, Peter and Jack) are in India on a "spiritual quest" to regain familial unity. They are in various stages of depression and denial after the death of their father a year ago. The eldest, Francis (Owen Wilson) organized the trip and is trying to assume the mantle of pater familias. He also wants the brothers to connect with their mother, who has fled to a convent in India. Peter (Adrian Brody) is running away from the responsibilities of fatherhood and the youngest, Jack (Jason Schwartzman), is a hedonistic writer who can't make an emotional commitment. Fueled by dubious drugs, the brothers stumble through the motions of "spiritual discovery" while superficially sampling the vibrant kaleidoscope of Indian culture which whirls around them.
This type of film is not for every one. A casual viewer is sure to find it disjointed and confusing. Plotting is incidental. But if one can let go a little, there is a lot to be discovered in Wes Anderson's terra incognito.