At this point, there’s very little to say about Wes Anderson‘s films that hasn’t already been said. Even The Darjeeling Limited, his 2007 effort about a trio of estranged brothers on a cross-country trip across India, has been picked apart and discussed enough times that anything we add would no doubt just be a drop in the ocean. But with the long-awaited UK release of the Criterion Collection Blu-ray now hitting stores across the land,
Of all Anderson’s filmography, Darjeeling is oft times eclipsed by his more famous repertoire. Whilst it does not quite hit the sweet spot those other films do, it still remains a wonderfully melancholic yet deftly funny piece, one that piles on absurd set pieces with moments of real emotional power and visual splendour. As the three protagonists gradually work through their collective grief and woefully pursue a sort of spiritual awakening that evades them at every point, the story provides ample moments for genuine understated human drama, albeit through the prism of the filmmaker’s more eccentric methods.
Of course, that is par for the course. It’s a Wes Anderson film after all, and his signature style is on display from the off. From his dollhouse shots and the symmetrical framing through to the faux-theatrical aesthetic and the hand-made feel, it’s recognisably Anderson, despite the exotic locale. Regardless of how well the film was received by those well-versed in all things Wes Anderson, watched in isolation, it truly is a wonderful piece of artful storytelling.
Criterion’s Blu-ray transfer is nothing short of gorgeous, helped in no small part by the way Anderson and cinematographer Robert Yeoman drench every scene with bright, warm colour. Combined with an excellent new DTS-HD Master Audio mix, this new Blu-ray offers fans a chance to experience the film again in the best way imaginable.
A treasure trove of extra features are included that make this a must for fans of all things Anderson. Essentials like Barry Braverman‘s fly-on-the-wall documentary (40 mins) and the film’s prologue short Hotel Chevalier (13 mins) are ported over from the original DVD release, whilst elsewhere on the disc you can find a conversation about the film’s musical influences between Anderson and filmmaker James Ivory (20 mins), a video essay by critic Matt Zoller Seitz (11 mins) and an audio commentary featuring Anderson, co-writer Roman Coppola and actor/co-writer Jason Schwartzman. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a vast collection of other extras, including sketches, audition tapes, deleted scenes, video diaries, trailers and even Anderson’s typically eccentric American Express advert. Comprising hours of bonus material, the disc presents a complete archival package for fans of the film.
Whether it’s your first foray into the weird and wonderful world of Wes or part of a revisit through the acclaimed director’s filmography, this definitive new package of The Darjeeling Limited offers ample opportunity to enjoy the film is stunning clarity and enjoy a host of supplemental material. How’s that for a spiritual awakening?!