Ain’t it Cool News gets the first Darjeeling Limited screener review

So Wes Anderson is starting to screen his new film, The Darjeeling Limited. Hopefully this means more images from the film and possibly a release date or a trailer some time in the near future. Here’s the review from a guy who calls himself J.M. McClane and here’s the original article from Ain’t it Cool News.

Hi Harry,

Long-time reader. I wanted to be the first to post a review of Wes Anderson’s new film, “The Darjeeling Limited.” Now, I am a big fan of Anderson’s films – The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my favorites, with my favorite Hackman performance to date, which is saying something. I did not like The life Aquatic, I thought it was too dry and cutesy for its own good and I’m suspect of anything that Anderson does not write with Owen Wilson, which is the case with The Darjeeling Limited.

I saw the film last week at its first test-screening and the whole scenerio felt like a focus group, with the filmmakers really looking for some feedback. Anderson was present.

The film itself really starts out fantastic – all of Anderson’s signature quirks are recognizeable from the start. The movie is split into two parts; The first is a short with Jason Schwartzman sitting in a hotel room, feeling sorry for himself, and ordering a grilled cheese. Natalie Portman shows up, hot as ever, and the two speak in very stilted dialoge. It is really a very weird short that does connect to the main storyline, but without much consequence – there is no big revelation.

The main film begins in India, with a cool Bill Murray cameo reminescent of Jason Strathem’s cameo in Collateral – sort of hints at something that never comes to fruition; another story, another place. Murray is racing for a train and finds himself running next to Adrian Brody, who is running for the very same train.

Brody turns out to be one of three brothers. The other two are played by Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman. The three interact on a cross-country train ride, as Wilson’s character attempts to manufacture some kind of profound, spiritual awakening between the brothers. Their father has recently died and their mother has split.

That is basically the film and I don’t want to ruin the few surprises that are littered throughout. The main problem with the movie is that it really goes nowhere. The ending leaves a lot to be desired and the film plays like its 2 and a half hours long, when in reality, its only an hour and a half. It was truly very slow, much like The Life Aquatic.

The first hour, though, is quite funny, with all the dry humor that Anderson is famous for. All of the essentials are there too; the slow-mo, the British hits from the 60’s, and a pretty good comedic performance from Owen Wilson. Brody and Schwartzman aren’t particularly great, but wilson’s timing saves the day.

I think that Anderson needs to find an ending and possibly figure out a way to save the last half-hour of the film because it drags, but there is something there and occasionally, Anderson mines some of his best material out of it. Hmm, I guess I don’t really know how I felt about the film because some people I was with thought it was a bomb, others saw something they liked, but they didn’t know what. I think I saw a grab-bag of ideas; some that worked and some that didn’t. A true work in progress.

J.M. McClane



Filed under Review, The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson

3 responses to “Ain’t it Cool News gets the first Darjeeling Limited screener review

  1. ndl

    i don’t like him. his grammar is inconsistent.

    and why the hell were you awake at 5:30? who’s awake at 5:30?!?

  2. Jesse

    I just read the screenplay and it must have been an earlier draft than what you described, because there was no hotel room scene at the beginning. Other than that your description seems about the same as what I read.

    I agree with you that it seemed to ultimately go nowhere. I tried to think of which character Portman would play, and really the only one was Alice. Am I right? If so her part seemed really small, but of course you mentioned that hotel scene and maybe her part has been beefed up in later versions of the screenplay.

    Im just mainly curious: does Natalie Portman play the part of Alice?


    P.S. Even if it did seem a bit boring and lackluster, I still cant wait for the film, haha!

  3. Jesse

    **I just realized: the version I read is dated May 2006, for those wondering.

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