My rating: 10
IMDB rating: 7.2
I have wanted to watch this film for a long time, not only because of, yes, Adrien Brody, but because of Wes Anderson. After having watched Moonrise Kingdom, I have just fallen in love with not only his writing, but also his directing.
I am happy to say that this movie was all that I thought it would be; a little weird, quirky, with lovely music and some deeper emotions as well. The cinematography and the writing are so evenly matched that the one never outshines the other, they are both absolutely gorgeous.
I loved the fact that Anderson took this film to India, where he played with, not only the Indian culture, but also the vibrate energy that India provides, along with the exquisite colouring. Of course, I do not think that the setting is merely superficial; Anderson certainly comments on the way in which Westerners have started to embrace parts of the Eastern’s culture and religion as a fashion statement. ‘Finding oneself’, especially in India, has become such a commercial idea, that Anderson plays with this by having the brothers buy a snake, having them attend a funeral and watching them mix up a peacock feather ritual.
Melodramatic acting coupled with bizarre plots and subplots are a very particular trait of Anderson. He mixes this with the most stunning cinematography. While the brothers are on the train, the camera is also mostly bound to the train. Anderson uses space in the most intuitive ways; it almost seems like you are watching live theater as the characters change compartments, life in these cramped, small, compact space is then compared to the vastness of the ‘wilderness’ that they are left in.
Perhaps, I am just in a point in my life where I often think about the different ways that people deal with grief (even in your own family), the nature of friendships between siblings and the tendency of families to try and protect one another with secrets. All three of these ‘themes’ are explored in the film.
Francis, Peter and Jack all deal with grief differently although they are brothers. While Francis, as the oldest, tries to cope by ordering everything and everyone around him, Peter finds comfort in having possessions of his loved one near, and Jack just continues as if nothing has happened or is wrong. The question is actually stated directly in this film; ‘would these three have been friends if they weren’t brothers?’ Families, although meant to be our biggest supporters, sometimes hurt us the most. Between these three brothers secrets are very common and they often only tell one a secret.
I would certainly say that this movie is a must-see. It is the perfect blend between comedy and drama- neither one of the two overshadows the other. That certainly makes this movie a feel-good movie, that keeps you laughing and thinking.
-The title ‘An American Empirical Picture’ is actually the name of the production company, but in the light of the film’s setting I find it quite ironic and therefore decided to add it to the post’s title-
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