Natalie Portman naked. Normally those words are used to drive gullible people to fraudulent web sites. In this case, those words will drive you to see The Darjeeling Limited before it leaves theaters.
The film is preceded by Hotel Chevalier, a short film starring Natalie and Jason Schwartzman. It provides a little backstory and context for the main film. It also provides you with an excellent reason to shell out $10.
I could make this review entirely about Natalie’s glorious visage. Forget launching a thousand ships; she could make Farrakhan convert to Judaism1. But anyone who’d find that a worthwhile read is already at Fandango looking up show times.
And it would be unfair to the film, which is worth $10 on its own. For the first two acts, I felt this was Wes Anderson’s best work since Rushmore. Intriguing characters, great humor. Fantastic visual storytelling with beautiful sets. I can easily see this receiving Oscar nominations for art direction and cinematography. And speaking of beauty, Natalie isn’t the only babe in film. We’re introduced to Amara Karan, Sri Lanka’s answer to Rosario Dawson. And there’s even some gorgeous Louis Vuitton luggage (or is it baggage?) that gets its own prominent credit.2
Beyond the visuals there are some great songs on the soundtrack3. Instead of an original score, it comprises songs from other Indian films along with some British invasion classics. In particular, the theme song (Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt) has been stuck in my head since I left the theater. It tells the tale of a girl from modest means who enters high society in 1960’s Paris. Very Holly Golightly, causing me to draw further parallels between Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Portman. It’s first played during Natalie’s brief appearance, and I’ll probably forever associate it with her. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song, but don’t take my word for it. Have a listen (and pay attention to the lyrics):
My only complaint about the film is that pacing seemed to slow quite a bit during the third act4 . It made the film feel longer than it was, even though the run time is only 91 minutes. I began to expect closing credits at the end of each scene. However, I must give it props for a fitting and highly metaphorical final scene. It just takes a little while to get there.
- It’s lines like this that keep TCT anonymous
- Unfortunately, I can’t find it for sale anywhere, and it’s not listed on LV’s web site. I know it was custom made, as it was painted by Wes Anderson’s brother. But I was hoping to find a limited run somewhere, even if there’s no chance of affording it before I strike it rich.
- Available on Rhapsody.com
- In the film’s defense I was in an uncomfortable seat.