Embracing the belief that nothing – no creation or vision or idea or product – is truly original pleases me for two reasons: first, it puts us all on an equal playing field, removing any need to ‘do it better’ than someone else, and second, it allows our individuality to shine through the recycled material and make our world interesting and relevant.
So what kind of movie would you make about three brothers on a road trip? On a spiritual awakening? Surely not the same one that Wes Anderson did. See what I mean? We get to peek into his head, the one full of quirky, simple characters and continuity of tone. “The Darjeeling Limited” is the latest window into this world, enriched even more by Roman Coppola (brother to another of my favorite filmmakers, Sofia) and Jason Schwartzman, co-writers of the film.
Appetizingly preceded by a viewing of the somber prequelesque short “Hotel Chevalier,” the feature itself is a romp of colors and baggage, Samsonite and otherwise. Toting the numerable pieces of luggage they inherited from their deceased father (the symbolism is quite obvious in this film) and physically looking nothing like brothers, Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody, and Schwartzman form a burdened, immature, reluctant trio of grown men processing the present through the past (shared and separte), and ultimately resort to behavior typical of adults still operating as children. The oldest brother, played by Wilson, is bossy and self-absorbed, creating a (pointlessly) detailed intinerary for their spirtual journey and though his two younger brothers do their best to shrug it off, they eventually confront each other, either quickly, violently, or incompletely, finally realizing that they only have themselves to grapple with.
In the hands of a different filmmaker, this could have been intense or crude or tragic, but Anderson chose bright colors, a foreign setting (India), and realistic characters depicted as caricatures, creating a film more like a fairytale than a drama and allowing us to relate to it and enjoy it, only letting go of our own baggage if we choose to travel that far.