I didn’t have a hope of getting tickets to the opening Q&A of Darjeeling Limited, though I posted about it all the same. But last night I actually did see the movie, in the 2nd row of a packed house. In order to fight off the disorientation caused by sitting almost directly beneath the enormous screen, I had to slump way down in the seat and rest my neck against the top of the chair. It made the movie slightly more of a physical experience, as my chest kept cramping and I had to keep crossing and uncrossing my legs to maintain circulation.
The movie itself was a feast, with all of the token Wes Anderson visual detail of The Royal Tenenbaums & Life Aquatic. India played a beautiful backdrop to the action, the dazzling colors of the clothing and shrines, the crazy little taxis and of course the pharmaceuticals. The way the multi-piece luggage set seemed to embody its own character was also notable. But my very favorite part of the movie was the tragedy at the river, which transformed a superficial spiritual journey into something real. It was poignant, surprising, and painfully lovely – and conveyed an authenticity unmatched by the rest of the stylized film. Khan’s honest depiction of a father’s devastation following the loss of his son, and Brody’s portrayal of regret at not having been able to save the boy, were exemplary.