I actually think that there’s an art to programming plane movies. I mean, you think that getting a movie on a plane is pretty exciting, but to really work, they’ve got too meet certain conditions:

1. They can’t really contain any quiet scenes or dialogue, because you’re not going to hear it over the roar of the engines.

2. They can’t really be the type of films where, if you miss a couple of minutes you’re going to be lost, because for sure you’re going to get interrupted by the food wagon, your baby daughter (if you’re us) and umpteen other things. Who’s got time to hardcore movie watch on a plane?

Anyway, The Darjeeling Limited, viewed while travelling from Cairns to Sydney, definitely didn’t fit the first condition, and kind of felt like it didn’t fit the second either. (This is as opposed to The Bourne Ultimatum, which I watched on the way up. That film was great. As soon as you worked out that some people wanted to kill Matt Damon and he wanted to escape, you could happily miss huge chunks of the movie and pick it up where you left off.)

But The Darjeeling Limited was a whole other kettle of fish. This is what I can work out:

1. It’s quirky. I worked that out, because the film opened with Bill Murray sitting in an Indian cab, racing through the streets of some Indian town to catch a train (the previously-mentioned Darjeeling Limited). Bill missed the train (even with everything going in slow motion, which shows how out of shape he is . . .) but Adrien Brody caught it. See, wasn’t that quirky?

2. Owen Wilson is playing himself again. (But then you could kind of work that out from the fact that he was in the movie. When he decides not to play himself, then I’ll sit up and take notice.)

3. It’s meant to be funny. I worked this out when there was a scene where Adrien Brody bought himself a cobra and then it escaped in their train carriage. (Unless they were trying to do a tribute to Snakes on a Plane. I mean, Snakes on a Train – it’s the logical next step, isn’t it?)

4. It’s set in India. I worked this out because of all the Indian people, the title of the film, and Rachel was having flashbacks of India (having travelled on one of those trains herself when she was over there).

5. It’s a brotherly bonding story. I worked this out when they kept sharing each other’s illegal Indian painkillers.

6. Something must have happened to their parents. I worked this out because they kept talking about their Dad’s funeral and their Mum living out in India in a temple.

7. It contained some spiritual stuff, because they Owen said they were taking a “spiritual journey” and they kept visiting Indian temples.

8. It was also a road movie, sort of, because it had a train in it.

9. I think it had a bittersweet, happy ending, because of the type of song they had on the end credits.

However, despite my diligent observation of what was going on in this movie, it seemed to incredibly have not much happening at all. For a drama, it wasn’t grabbing me. For a comedy, even the snake gag seemed a bit boring. The only thing that was kind of interesting was the fact that it seemed definitely set in the middle of India (no sets here) and the interesting camera angles, which consisted of lining the guys up in a row and getting them to stare into the camera.

Look, I probably should watch this film in the real world at some stage and see if I actually like it, but the 1 1/2 hour trailer that was the plane version didn’t really sell it to me. But to be kind, I won’t give it a rating.

2 thoughts on “Film Review: The Darjeeling Limited

  1. Well, there you go. The only other Wes Anderson I saw was The Royal Tenenbaums, which I enjoyed stylistically, even though it’s rather a bleak picture of life.

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