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</script></div>{/googleAds}Writer and director Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) appears content to carve out his thematic niche in the shrunken-down idiosyncratic universe of family's muddling through unresolved pain and suffering. Anderson's recurrent ‘broken' family theme of tragic characters using their heartfelt—always comedic framed —resourcefulness to make do is alive and well in The Darjeeling Limited—an international flavored road trip movie set to the contemplative sounds of a moving and bouncing train and soundtrack.

It's been one year since the Whitman brothers last saw each other at their father's funeral, following his unexpected death. The three estranged siblings—Francis (Owen Wilson, You, Me and Dupree), Jack (Jason Schwartzman, Shopgirl), and Peter (Adrien Brody, Hollywoodland) have reunited, somewhat reluctantly, to take a trip together across India on a fictional train—called The Darjeeling Limited—to rediscover their brotherly love for one another. The only minor obstacle in their way, within a totally foreign country, being they don't particularly care for, or trust, one another. Their journey itinerary will culminate with an unannounced visit to see their mother, living in India for no obvious reason. Mother mysteriously did not attend father's funeral. The three sons have the matter of unfinished business to tend to.

Along the way, director Anderson (himself the second of three brothers) uses his fondness for quirky pacing, poignant oddball imagery (e.g., Wilson's Francis wears a turban-like head bandage throughout), and folk rock soundtrack to share a sentimental lesson about fate—how it chooses you when the time is right and not the other way around. For the Whitman brothers—through series of wryly-surreal adventures—it's fate's belated, and unexpected, arrival that gives them the required wherewithal to finally leave their collectively burdensome past behind at the last train station out of town.

The best directors among us are known for exploring recurring themes throughout their filmography—e.g., Hitchcock having ordinary people caught in extraordinary situations, Spielberg exploring parent-child issues—so in this regard we should commend director Anderson for setting his artistic sights high. That said, with The Darjeeling Limited, his fifth feature film, he has done nothing to up the artistic stakes in his continuing exploration of the damaged family on the mend. Instead, we are essentially destined to repeat previous melancholy Anderson films (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore)—not just the same result, but the same equation.

Too bad too. There is every reason to believe it's a theme worth sinking your teeth into. Given the challenges family imposes on us all, it has the potential for widespread appeal. Having grown into a cult favorite, director Anderson has shown a signature knack for cinematic storytelling. At this point, his movies earn the nearly impossible distinction of finding an expectant audience. If Anderson's fate is captured by a greater artistic destiny he'll have to figure out how to reinvent the ‘broken' family equation so that we can continue to look forward to taking new, unexpected journeys to that oh so familiar place.


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes.

* Featurettes
o Hotel Chevalier (17:02)
o Making-of featurette

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging