My dad asked some questions throughout the movie, I'm going to address them now and defend the film from the poor reviews, it has received thus far (on Listal).
Who are these guys?
They are three brothers who have recently lost their father. They reunite on the 'Darjeeling Limited', a train travelling through central India. Similar to the characters in 'The Royal Tennabaums', Darjeeling focuses on the lives of the nuevo-rich, a post modern, middle class. Contrary to traditional cinema, Wes Anderson focuses on the down side of being financially comfortable, highlighting the futile search for well-being that occurs after finance and survival are guaranteed.
What's going on?
No flashbacks or over-simplified back stories are used. You have to just pick up from where you are put. I personally love this, it makes it more realistic, also as the dialogue progresses, you gain a better understanding of what is happening and what HAS happened at the same time. Twice the plot development for your money. So smartly written, Darjeeling takes the length of the film to get you up to date on where you were at the beginning. The sense of closure is therefore doubled at the end of the film, *SPOILER ALERT*, despite it having no cut and dry resolution.
Do they even like each other?, are we supposed to like them or what?
In real life people don't rush down dark hallways with ominous music, or swing into places with epic, orchestral tones. In real life we change, adapt and adjust our opinion of individuals, all the time. Another reason why I love this film. Unlike traditional 'hollywood' no binary oppositions are made, and no symbols are used by the director to tell you how to feel. Much like a tabloid newspaper, Hollywood uses big images and emotive words to tell you, 'you must like this character!'. The broadsheet doesn't adopt such methods, it supplies the facts, you make up your mind. It may seem less exciting, and insulting to some, to compare a movie to a broadsheet. I feel however that it gives the viewer some independence, it's strange not to be spoon fed, it may be scary, but ultimately it is emancipating and satisfying.
I don't get it.
Don't try to get it, just sit back and enjoy it. It isn't an overacted piece of cliché drama, it won't be apparent immediately. We've had it drilled into us that films must be hyper-real, hyper fast and formulaic. Even if you have to watch it twice, once to de-programme and again to enjoy, do so!
In conclusion, I cant quite find the words to explain how much I love this film, and what it makes me feel....other than 'happy'. It is typical Wes Anderson stuff. If you liked Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic, you will definitely love this movie. It is slow paced, it is subtle, it is unique and complex yet simple. I could not recommend this enough, but (I cant say this without sounding pretentious), my high recommendation is exclusively to folk of a higher brow.