THE DARJEELING LIMITED CRITERION COLLECTION BLU RAY REVIEW

India is for some, a mixture of tradition and modernity. From the forts that are centuries old to the skyscrapers of silver and glass. For others it is a spiritual place that combines reverence with personal growth. Temples, Gurdwaras’, Mosques, churches and nature as alter. Often it is more cliches, from those who have ancestry to the soil and others who have seen too many a Bollywood dream. In the case of Wes Anderson THE DARJEELING LIMITED however, we have a robust blend of all three, defused through the lens of the auteur. Traversing the route of the many traveller, from Jaipur and the palaces, to the train journeys that are long and lingering but mesmeric.

“The Darjeeling Limited” pulls out of a station.  Peter Whitman (Adrien Brody) catches the train as it does so. Peter is there to reunite with his brothers Francis (Owen Wilson) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) who are on board. Their father died a year before and they have not spent time together since. Francis recently survived a near-fatal motorcycle accident, which has altered his outlook. He wishes to reconcile with his brothers on a journey of spiritual self-discovery. Jack and Peter are less interested in this at first. They have become infuriated with Francis’ manipulative behaviour and see this as another extension of his will. As they visit Hindu temples and travel across the desert landscape, a connection builds and a spiritual awakening might lead to enlightenment.

Wes Andersons most interesting films are often the ones overlooked on initial release. Though I love GRAND BUDAPEST or ROYAL TENENBAUMS, I have to say that my personal favourite is still STEVE ZISSOU. It explored a character in facets. Reflecting the personal growth through adventure and exploration. Anderson was intelligent in his dynamic use of visuals, sounds and story. This all lead to a cacophony of black comedy and a unique film. DARJEELING LIMITED is almost there in terms of this mixture. It suffers a little from Andersons obsession with his characters sometimes being emptier than the space they inhabit (who suffer from being both irritating and irrational). The cast try to overcome the obnoxious and inconsistency of their others but they fail to truly move on and as the credits role, you feel that you need care less than before about them.

DISC

Well HD approved by Wes Anderson, what does that really mean. It means a very good transfer, without that DVD dampened image. Anderson’s films live or die on the visual aspect (this more than many) and that is where Criterion have come in to their own. My only detractions from it are the over saturated colour on a few limited scenes. This is possibly due to the digital transfer bleeding naturally.

 

EXTRAS

My top five extras on the set are (in descending order!)

5 – Discussion between Anderson and filmmaker James Ivory on the music used in the film. Anderson makes the most of the soundscape in his films. This is his most subtle use of mise en scene and the one that Ivory and he discuss in a very pleasing way.

4 –Video essay by critic Matt Zoller Seitz The essay on the film in the lexicon of Anderson is very much a must for those who like the film or the directors imagination.

3 – Audio commentary featuring Anderson and cowriters Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola This is an old one. Old in that it appeared before but its still very good. Funny, insightful and explains why the leads are such shits.

2 –original illustrations by Eric Chase Anderson I love the art work from the booklet. It makes the set almost as much a work of art as the landscape they explore in Jodhpur.

1 – new essay by critic Richard Brody The route of great film commentary is to discuss of the piece that of its past, present and how it goes to the future. Great stuff.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Wes Anderson, with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Hotel Chevalier (part one of The Darjeeling Limited)
  • Audio commentary featuring Anderson and cowriters Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola
  • Behind-the-scenes documentary by Barry Braverman
  • Discussion between Anderson and filmmaker James Ivory on the music used in the film
  • Anderson’s American Express commercial
  • On-set footage shot by Coppola and actor Waris Ahluwalia
  • Video essay by critic Matt Zoller Seitz
  • Audition footage
  • Deleted and alternate scenes
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Stills galleries from James Hamilton, Laura Wilson, and Sylvia Plachy
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An insert featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody and original illustrations by Eric Chase Anderson

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.