This time tomorrow where will we be?this time tomorrow what will we know” asks The Kinks’ song as Peter (Adrien Brody) hops on The Darjeeling Limited train in the opening minutes of the Wes Anderson film of the same title.
These lyrics perhaps set the tone for the rest of the film as Peter joins his two brothers Jack (Jason Schwartzman) and Francis (Owen Wilson) in a cabin aboard a train in India in hopes to reconnect after a year of silence following the death of their father.
Their hopes in a spiritual journey is led by Francis, who hires a man named Brenden to print itineraries for them, laminated and slid under their cabin door each morning, during their trip.
The brothers are all using this trip to hide from realities that they do not wish to face. Peter, who wears his father’s oversized prescription glasses everywhere, among wearing other possessions of his, is hiding from the fact that he will be having a baby with his wife in a month.
Jack, who constantly calls his ex-girlfriend’s (Natalie Portman) voicemail and carries around a soundtrack for the film on his portable ipod player, is in denial of the hurt he is feeling by playing off written stories on his real life as “fiction.”
Francis shows up to the train severely bruised from a car accident, yet tries to keep the brothers together through his planned-out adventures. He acts as the leader in a damaged, pulled apart family.
However, as The Kinks suggested, we cannot know what will happen tomorrow . Looking for a spiritual journey, or looking specifically for anything for that matter, will not always get results. A journey like that will happen naturally or spontaneously.
After exploring a city on a stop on the train, everything goes havoc for the brothers. Francis, who seems jealous that Peter carries so many of their father’s possessions, starts up a fight on the train. Jack breaks it apart the only way he can: spraying pepper spray on both of his brother’s faces. This combined with the release of Peter’s newly bought poisonous snake and their combined smoking habits lands them all a one-way ticket out on the road. They are left without plans, a laminator, and room service.
Now the real journey begins. The wealthy brothers get a taste of culture other than their privileged lifestyle. They attend an Indian funeral, where they all wear white, which parallels their father’s funeral a year ago at which they wore all black. They meet families that are very much unlike theirs. The brothers soon realize that they do not need to carry around luggage of possessions around to be happy or fulfilled. They learn to drop their material items in lieu of picking up their true identities.
Wes Anderson, whose previous films “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Bottle Rocket” and “The Life Aquatic,” succeeded among mainstream blockbusters with their fine details and characterizations, now tries something new in “The Darjeeling Limited” while still keeping to his usual style.
“The Darjeeling Limited” captures Anderson’s typical dry humor, brightly colored sets and costumes, complex characters, and unique settings, while adding a more real-life approach to the plot.
The film, while giving details to each character’s private life, mainly focuses on the connections of the three brothers. Focusing on fewer characters keeps the film strong and supported until the end.
Anderson’s last film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” may have turned off original fans of the director with unrealistic, glittery sea creatures. However, the unique introspection of a dysfunctional family is once again introduced in “The Darjeeling Limited.”
“The Darjeeling Limited” teaches us many things about learning to act like an adult, including that if you are not strong enough to join in on a fight, you can always mace someone in the face.
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