Hotel Chevalier is a good prequel to The Darjeeling Limited. Even if it starts out ‘in medias res’ or in the middle of things, it gives a nice back story for the Jack character and builds up the world in which they are part of. Starting out in the middle of things is risky in the sense that if done improperly, the viewer would not care much for it; however, I believe that Wes Anderson is successful in that it leaves much to the viewer’s imagination as to how the actual story plays out. In addition to this, watching The Darjeeling Limited afterwards and seeing the connection between the two is actually a good payoff, with the viewer being left satisfied with the time he invested in the movie.
With the main movie at hand, The Darjeeling Limited follows the quest for identity of a seemingly dysfunctional brotherhood. The twist is that this quest takes place in an environment most definitely outside of their comfort zone, the seemingly alien world of India. Here we are presented three brothers, each with their own quirks which endear them to the audience. Their squabbles and exploits in sunny India lead to a lot of laughs, but it also is the type of movie which would make you reflect. It talks about how you can’t really escape who you are, and that the quest for self is not really a destination, but rather a journey.
I found it a particularly easy film to watch due to numerous reasons. The first is that the movie establishes itself as endearing early on. It has an even, straightforward pace and generally is light in terms of mood; which makes it easy to watch as a popcorn movie. In addition to this, the actors in the film are familiar to the viewers; with Owen Wilson, Natalie Portman and even Bill Murray in the roster. The familiarity of these actors make the movie accessible to the viewer.
As discussed in class, the brilliant execution of film elements not just for entertainment purposes, but also makes it also a good film worth analyzing. For instance, it manages to elicit in the viewer a wide range of emotions; from the light and easygoing pace early on, to something such as the death of a child, with the shifts in mood handled appropriately. A most noteworthy part is the scene wherein the brothers take part in the funeral rites of the recently deceased child. The silent droning provides a contrast to the actual scene taking place, where it provides a feeling of distance and isolation. Quite the opposite, this spiritual journey enables them to accept their differences, and they actually find themselves amidst all this confusion.
The Darjeeling Limited is an entertaining movie, what’s more, it is a philosophically subtle one. In being lost, we find ourselves; and we can only be truly free if we let go of our baggages, as literally and figuratively shown in the movie. Now where to get those peacock feathers.