The Wonderful World of Wes Anderson

Jodhpur, India.  A businessman sits nervously in the back of a speeding taxi.  Its driver, himself the very picture of composure, rattles headlong through the dusty streets as if giving chase. With cool shades and a straight face, he weaves through the chaos, dodging motorbikes, auto rickshaws and…uh…livestock.  It’s every man (and beast) for himself.

Tossing out the rulebook (if ever it existed), he overtakes, undertakes, slips and shimmies past certain death as casually as if it were all a video game.  But this is India, and Indian rules apply.  Meanwhile, the white-knuckled businessman lessens his grip to check his watch, mutters something under his breath, gestures to a passing threat outside.

He wants to protest, but he bites his lip for the train he has to catch.  The worry is etched on his face – missing it is not an option.  Time is such that a fatal accident is the lesser evil.  His suitcases are on either side of him. The driver makes an emergency stop at the destination. The businessman unpacks himself from the cab, swings the death trap door closed with one suitcase and makes a bolt for the platform.  No time for pleasantries, no time for tickets.  Just the chase for a moving train.

There is a moment when you think he’ll catch it, but the businessman’s efforts are in vain.  As failure steadily dawns on him, a younger westerner comes into shot and passes him in the chase.  This man succeeds where the businessman failed.  Newly aboard, he lifts his glasses to acknowledge the fading image of the older man left behind as The Darjeeling Limited slips away.

This is the first scene of The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson’s 2007 feature starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schartzman.  The man who missed the train is played by none other than Bill Murray, comedy behemoth and international - bordering on intergalactic - treasure.  For those that haven’t seen The Darjeeling Limited, it may come as a surprise to discover that this is the last we see of him.    

You may already be aware of my love of Wes Anderson’s work when I wrote about this film as one of my favourite comedies at the beginning of this year.  His style has been described by Criterion as “eccentric, colourful compositions and a fastidious attention to detail.”  What’s more, he’s been dubbed the next Martin Scorsese.  A bold statement, I hear you say.  Not when this statement comes from none other than Marty himself. 

Via a very well-received foray in animation with Fantastic Mr Fox, Anderson is back with Moonrise Kingdom, his first live action ensemble piece since The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.  The stellar cast is testament to Wes Anderson’s unique voice as one of America’s most visionary directors: Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand and Jason Schwartzman have joined forces to bring Wes Anderson’s wonderful world to life. 

Moonrise Kingdom has been hailed as the consummate Wes Anderson film, but also his most accessible - proof that there has never been a better time to let the World of Wes wash over you.

Moonrise Kingdom is showing from Friday 29th June to Monday 2nd July on selected dates at Gloucester Guildhall.    

Comments

  1. Nice introduction to the World of Wes! I'm definitely looking forward to Moonrise Kingdom at the good ol' Guildhall.
    Not sure about Ed Norton's legs, though...
    ;-)

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