October 10, 2007

THE ANTI-KALA

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Here's what I feel I have to tell you, to suggest: Ignore this Wes Anderson movie that just came out. It's murder on the Orientalism express. This ain't no spoiler, but just a straight alert: Jason Schwartzman, per usual, stars as a sucking wound, and (and!) has convienently written his character into a zipless fuck scenario with the help. She's so exotic, yet they have so much in common--she too is a smoker who wants off the train! After some mild fingerbanging in the bathroom, he reneges on the NSA end of the contract of encounter--he wants some emotional intimacy, the kind he never knew from his mother; and hey, while she's up, another helping of those nuts she is serving. And so closes the first act.

It's a sad thing to watch Schartzman loom large on the screen--his face rung with a mustache so revoltingly egregious that it wouldn't get one laid even in the deepest cokeified borough of Brooklyn--and wish he would just stay on tour with Phantom Planet for the rest of his natural born life. Darjeeling Ltd suggests that we should feel sad for his character because women are forever deserting him; the consumate poor little rich boy, a cad hapless to his role in his miserable plight. Anderson seems to believe, as he's repeated it ad. infin. in his films, that this is some uncanny, compelling truth rather than a well-worn trope of the patriarchy. To treat it as precious and unfamiliar merely affirms his obliviousness. To borrow from Greil Marcus' Shape of Things To Come, Schwartzman's character has become a stand-in for not only Darjeeling Ltd itself, but Wes Anderson's entire body of work.

Ever more pathetic is Anderson and his coupla Coppola co-writers quasi comedic comment on (white) people seeking easy transcendence, which is negated by their wholecloth broadcast of this idea; a reflection on whats truly important in life, offered up by a movie that has all the emotional nuance of a funmaze on the side of a Happy Meal box. Three brothers who never knew how fleeting life was until they had the oppurtunity to save the lives of some helpless natives--except one of 'em died--which in turn, gave their lives new meaning. Plot synopsis: Through the death of a nameless Indian boy, three dumb honkeys learn the true meaning of Christmas. It's like Frank Capra shitting out the World of Apu boxset.

As a meta-allegory on American foreign policy, PERHAPS, this movie could work, though it wouldn't be telling us anything Wolf Blitzer hasn't already and we'd still have to look at Jason Schwartzman barfstache for two fucking hours. Instead, it becomes what it is: an unfunny Three Amigos set in a different desert. The big question looms: Is there anything worthwhile in watching Owen Wilson, Schartzman, the script and Anderson get outclassed by Adrian Brody? Maybe. If going to the movies costs you ready pocket change or less, the use and display of Adrian Brody, lithe, running in slo-mo is almost worth the trouble. Almost.

Posted by Jessica at October 10, 2007 10:19 PM | TrackBack