>Gone Baby Gone + Hotel Chevalier + The Darjeeling Limited


Between the right choice and the moral choice Does the previous sentence sound a little pleonastic? Wait until you see Ben Affleck’s debut as a director to understand my choice of words better and hence Casey Affleck’s character dilemma. In the city of Boston, a little girl has disappeared. The police hasn’t found a single clue that might lead them to the missing child, her mother (Amy Ryan) doesn’t seem to care so much either, but two other relatives can’t stand the situation and decide to hire the private services of detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan). Due to the matter of the investigation and how it turns out in a surprising twist, this particular case will consume the couple both personally and professionally, though it’s Kenzie who is going to suffer deeply from the first to the final step. In this investigational thriller adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel, Ben Affleck shows better skills behind the cameras than in front of them. I’ve been told he knows the city where the story takes place very well, therefore, I can only conclude that was also a great choice of him to adapt the book to the screen. In its first minutes, the camera intimately captures another average day in the neighborhood, not as normal if it wasn’t for the fact several journalists stand in front of the disappeared child’s house. Another great shot is the one which a character wrestles with another on the top of a building, where you can see all the city behind.

Schwartzman with Portman earlier – “Do you wanna see my view of Paris?” and later with Wilson and Brody in a surreal train across India

Leaving all old family problems behind, just like that Director Wes Anderson has pointed his short film Hotel Chevalier interlaces with the story told in The Darjeeling Limited. It actually does, but just superficially and why not say, incompletely. It does tell us about Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman), literally an american man in Paris, for about a year (or more), but what about his two siblings? Living alone in a luxurious room in the hotel from the title, he receives an ex-girlfriend (should I say THE ex-girlfriend) phone call, who has just arrived in Paris. She goes to the hotel, they talk, she brushes her teeth and they make love, despite the fact they could feel emotionally horrible by the next day. The brief film is punctuated by the song Where Do You Go To My Lovely, that fits the happening like a glove, and so does the typical Anderson’s slow camera while filming Natalie Portman in all her nude glory (I wonder what made her strip to Anderson’s camera, as she had better reasons to do it before to Mike Nichols, but refused). And mentioning Closer, I’d disagree on those who have said the actress only replayed her Oscar nominated role here. Besides being equally mysterious, Jack’s ex-lover is far more sophisticated and much less vulnerable than Alice. She’s the kind of lady that hurt one man’s feelings, instead of being hurt herself.

In The Darjeeling Limited, Jack Whitman joins his two older brothers (Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody) on a train trip across India, that according to a recent fatal-accident-survivor Francis (Wilson, the eldest brother) will help them to bond with each other while finding salvation and relief. But the goal is not so easy to be achieved, as in the beggining the brothers don’t even trust each other. Francis has almost died in an motorcycle accident, Peter (Brody) is about to become a father; a very clueless and confused one, and Jason…well, just read the paragraph above. Or maybe I should add a year alone in Paris had a lot to do with the fact he wanted to be as away of his family roots as possible, the contrary that is about to happen in this film, as they remember their father’s funeral (probably a year back) and they try to find their mother (Anjelica Huston), who has become a nun in the Himalayas. Their father’s death is remembered through flash-backs after an accident by the second half of the film, that turns out to be more drama than comedy. TDL’s best qualities are its soundtrack and art direction, that fluctuates between red and yellow in a beautiful harmony. And once again, the slow motion editing is used in its best, especially in one of the last scenes, which the brothers literally get rid off their heavy luggage, as a symbol of the family issues they left behind. After all that, I still felt like the Whitman brothers’ journey was incomplete, though I didn’t take it seriously from the beggining.

12 Comments to “>Gone Baby Gone + Hotel Chevalier + The Darjeeling Limited”

  1. >I've actually spent a lot of time in Darjeeling when I was younger, it's a lovely place if slightly overrun by tourists. Though from what I've heard about this movie, it doesn't actually get shot in Darjeeling itself so much…my favourite Wes Anderson films will always be Rushmore and The Royal Tenebaums, this one sounds good.

  2. >Blue Floppy Hat: Wow, spending a lot of time in such a place must be amazing:-) I haven't seen "Rushmore" yet, it's in the list of movies I should see soon, though.

  3. >Romeika, confesso que o The Darjeeling Limited, ainda não me atraiu, mas o Gone Baby Gone está cada dia mais incluido em minha lista de prioridades.Concordo com o q disse sobre o Ben Affleck, ele é um péssimo ator, acho até o irmão dele mais talentoso. O Dennis Lehane é craque, Mystic River é sensacional.

  4. >I've tagged you to tell us what's in your bag, hope you don't mind 🙂

  5. >Romeika, quero muito assistir "Gone Baby Gone" porque li o livro e adorei a trama. A sua primeira frase já resume bem o que é a trama do filme. Você sabe da minha implicância com o Ben Affleck, mas quero dar uma chance nova para ele. :-)Acho que o Wes Anderson se perdeu depois que fez "Os Excêntricos Tenembauns". Por isso nem tenho essa expectativa toda com esse novo projeto dele.

  6. >Blue Floppy Hat, no problem, I'll post what's in my bag as soon as I can 🙂Cassiano, eu discordo da maioria das escolhas do Ben Affleck como ator, e concordo que ele teve péssimas atuações, mas teve até alguns bons momentos tb.. O filme tem muito daquela aura escura de "Mystic River", com mais algumas cenas chocantes. E de sobra, outro final surpreendente.Kamila, então parece que o espírito da adaptação foi bem fiel ao livro. Com relação a TDL, o que mais incomoda no filme é ser uma comédia que quase nunca provoca risos (pelo menos em mim), mas vai que assim são os filmes dele.. Mas eu fui besta de esperar uma verdadeira viagem espiritual desse filme, pois já do início se percebe a lorota, assim que o personagem do Wilson abre a boca. Ainda assim tem os seus bons momentos.

  7. >Romeika, o Wes Anderson é um enganador, para tomar emprestada a palavra que o Rubens Ewald Filho tanto adora. :-)Enfim, pergunta rápida: você viu Cate Blanchett como Dylan e a Amy como Helene. Qual das duas você acha que deve ganhar o Oscar?

  8. >Romeika, adorei Wes em Tenenbaums e nem tanto em Zissou. Espero algo ao menos bom de Darjeeling. Já de Gone Baby Gone espero bastante. Não vejo a hora de ver.Ciao!

  9. >Estou tão ansioso quanto a "Gone Baby Gone"! Quero muito ver esse filme. Vi num post da Kamila que a trama é muito interessante, o que confirmo aqui. Já "Darjeeling Limited" passou pelos nossos cinemas, mas ficou lá por São Paulo/Rio mesmo… Vi "Steve Zissou" recentemente e não gostei muito, mas quero ver esse novo trabalho do Wes Anderson.

  10. >Kamila, eu digo e repito: "da-lhe Blanchett!"Wally, eu gostei de Zissou, mas pq assisti bem despretenciosamente, sem esperar nada. Eu acho que essa eh a melhor atitude ao se assistir os filmes dele. A unica expectativa que sempre tenho eh com a trilha musical e a direcao de arte, fotografia..Acho tudo tao interessante e de bom gosto..Vinicius, eu achei os dois filmes bons, apesar de serem bem diferentes. Espero que pelo menos o filme do Affleck estreie por aih, mas se nao me engano, o do Anderson foi exibido apenas em festivais, nao foi distribuido totalmente ainda.

  11. >Bizarre, I just Feelt that the Afleck Film (the two Affleck Film) was OK but it didn't amaze me, I felt that the moral dilemma was in (and was very hard) and the actors were very good (Specially Affleck and Monaghan… well I think that only a few people can complain about Morgan Freeman), in short I lake the movie but It did't pass from the basic level, maybe I was expecting a lot more (Here in México It was released in november only a week away of the realese of The Assesination of Jessie James by the coward Robert Ford and Casy Affleck Amaze me, I was expecting some better things of this movie)And I love Darjeeling Limited and love it for the undaid issues that surround the movie and the resolution of the film, I acept it that Anderson is a little shallow but I think that he succeded in show the ordinary life in which we all act a little like his caracter in certan waysPD.- Natalie Portman did get naked for Mike Nichols's Closer, but at the end the director felt (very wisdom by the way) that the scene were more strong without the nudity (The Portman fans love her dressed or naked)Cheers from Mexico and I send a virtual hug to all the cinematographic fans in the world (and obviously to you to)

  12. >A.R, I haven't seen "The assassination..", I lost it in the movies, But I'm looking forward to see it on dvd. I heard Casey Affleck is great in it. I liked "Gone Baby Gone", it was ok/good, nothing beyond. I liked "Mystic River" better, from the same author whose novel was adapted.I had no idea about Natalie getting nude in "Closer", so interesting it was edited in the end… Cheers! Thanks for the comments ^^

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