By William Wolf

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2007  Send This Review to a Friend

The opening night selection of the 2007 New York Film Festival, the 45h edition of the event, was a safe, pleasing one that didn’t have the effect of dividing audiences into seriously revival camps, as has been the case with some more ambitious works over the years. “The Darjeeling Limited,” set in India and directed by the popular Wes Anderson from a screenplay he wrote with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, is a gentle, sometimes moving tale about three brothers who attempt to gain more closeness while traveling together. The director has a light touch, and although the film is no world-beater, it is enjoyable to watch. The India setting helps considerably, as does the acting.

The brothers, Owen Wilson as Francis, Adrien Brody as Peter, and writer Schwartzman also assuming acting duties in the role of Jack, make a pleasant ensemble. As in many families, the characters carry a certain amount of emotional baggage, and the occasion for bonding is a welcome one. There is amusement in the etching of their different personalities. Francis is the controlling brother, who lays out schedules and details to be followed.

Their escapades include encountering the tragic death of an Indian child, and after bringing the child back to his family, they are invited to the funeral. There has been a back story funeral in their own family—that of their father. Their mother, Patricia, played by Anjelica Houston, who didn’t attend “because I didn’t want to” is living in India in a nunnery and is dedicated to helping the unfortunate. She is effective in a brief scene in which her sons visit, and she makes it clear that she has her own life to live and in her own way.

Anderson has the knack of turning out offbeat films, and this one is in that tradition. He focuses on the little things that give a film character, and the result adds up to a work that is different from more conventional efforts. That is part of its charm. It is also part of its limitations. A Fox Searchlight Pictures release. .


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