The Bayley Film Club: Wes Anderson

The round 18 was all about Wes Anderson. One of my favourite directors. The films we have picked for our film club was The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Excited? I know I am! Let’s get to it!

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Author: Agsy E Drapinska
Anticipation: 5
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 4
Score: 14

Based on a famous children’s book written by Roald Dahl from 1970, Anderson’s version of Fantastic Mr. Fox’s adventures is a stop motion animated comedy. Released in 2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox is Anderson’s try-out of this, seems like, long-forgotten type of filmmaking which beginnings are dated for XIX century. The director successfully reapplied the technique in his later feature from 2018 “Isle of Dogs” (which I would also highly recommend!).

What characterises “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a witty script, beautiful animations, an engaging story and a lot of familiar voices:  George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox, Bill Murray as Clive Badger, Willem Dafoe as Rat or Owen Wilson as Coach Skip.

A film that is beautifully made, smart and funny, and even though it’s an animation it is as enjoyable for kids as it is for adults. Well done Wes Anderson!

The Darjeeling Limited

Author: Agsy E Drapinska
Anticipation: 5
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 5
Score: 15 !

“The Darjeeling Limited” stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman who are playing three brothers – Francis, Peter and Jack. In hope of creating a real brotherly bond, they go on on a spiritual journey across India via train. The whole trip and itinerary is being planned by the oldest – Francis – and organised by his assistant – Brendan.

All three brothers, although grown-up, resemble more three spoiled, nasty teenagers. As the manipulative behaviour arises and unresolved issues float to the surface – we witness the gradual increase of tension building in the train’s compartment. Finally the situation explodes and Francis, Peter and Jack find themselves in the middle of nowhere, just with their unique and numerous luggage set, which they inherited after their father, a year prior. Abandoned by Brandon, they hopelessly drag all the suitcases through the desert. 

The film is a comedy-drama and I have found it absolutely hilarious, on a serious note though, the brotherhood and family reunion with their mother does get another chance. As all Wes Anderson’s films “The Darjeeling Limited” is perfectly made (with symmetry, attention to detail and beautiful colours), has a witty script and great acting performances. It also has a story that is beautifully connected and reminds us that even the most ridiculously complicated family relationships can be rebuild, and nothing is ever completely lost.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Author: NA Tonge
Anticipation: 4
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 5
Score: 14

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is Wes Anderson’s first animation film.

Where others have tried and failed, Anderson’s use of stop motion techniques and off-beat humour succeeds in bringing the weird and frightening world of Ronald Dahl to film.

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is to be enjoyed up to it’s very last second and is a worthy candidate for being called to the ranks of the best “children‘s story” film adaptations.

The Darjeeling Limited

Author: NA Tonge
Anticipation: 2
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 5
Score: 12

Estranged brothers Peter and Jack are mysteriously invited to meet their older brother Francis in the passenger cabin of The Darjeeling Limited train, in India, following his recent near death experience. 

With an arsenal of painkillers and a never ending supply of cigarettes, the dysfunctional trio sets off / go along with Francis’s version of spiritual enlightenment.

Anderson deals with rivalry and hierarchy in sibling relationships and addresses underlying trust issues between the brothers. 

The film is thoughtful and throughly entertaining from start to finish and the gang’s dry humour treats the audience to regular laugh out loud moments. 

The opening scenes start with each brother taking it in turns to betray the others confidence by telling the third of what they have been told in secrecy. 

As the trip goes on, it becomes far from being a spiritual experience, the childlike behaviour and Francis’ desperation for the three to bond brings about a mixture of comical and incredibly sad events that bring the brothers closer, helping each another through the unresolved childhood issues and current personal problems. 

Anderson sets out to create a film that can’t be pigeonholed as a road trip or a buddy film, and in “The Darjeeling Limited” he certainly creates a totally unique film to be enjoyed by all. 

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