The Darjeeling Limited (15)

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The Independent Culture

A year after their father's funeral, three brothers try to get their lives and their relationship back on track by going on a railway journey through the Indian countryside. The oldest brother, Owen Wilson, wants them to have a spiritual voyage of discovery, even if that means printing and laminating their itineraries in advance. Adrien Brody – whose long bent nose makes him inspired casting as Wilson's sibling – is the resentful middle brother who's running away from his pregnant wife. And Jason Schwartzman, the youngest of the three, is a barefoot chain-smoker who's still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend.

As you might guess, it's not long before the laminated itineraries are discarded, sacred rituals are spoilt by decades-old fraternal grievances, and someone lets loose a poisonous snake on the train.

It's probably Wes Anderson's most straightforward film. Whereas his other oddball comedies have been a genre unto themselves, The Darjeeling Limited is a dysfunctional family road movie (or rather railroad movie) which trundles along a similar route to Little Miss Sunshine. That's not a criticism.

The director's last film, The Life Aquatic, disappeared so far up its own quirkiness that only Anderson aficionados could see the appeal, so it's a welcome change to be able to laugh out loud at some slapstick, instead of just smiling knowingly at some meticulously colour-coordinated deadpan whimsy. India looks fantastic, too. Even if Anderson isn't usually your cup of tea, The Darjeeling Limited is worth the trip.

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