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Film / The Darjeeling Limited

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The journey of three brothers across India.note 
Jack: Wouldn't it be great if we heard a train go by in the distance?
Peter: Not really.
Francis: It'd probably be annoying.

The Darjeeling Limited is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The movie follows three American brothers, the Whitmans - Francis (portrayed by Owen Wilson), Peter (portrayed by Adrien Brody) and Jack (portrayed by Jason Schwartzman), who haven't seen each other since their father's funeral one year ago. The brothers eventually meet up in a train that travels through India, the titular "Darjeeling Limited." The movie follows the misadventures of the three brothers as they journey towards a reunion with their mother (portrayed by Anjelica Huston), who conducts an abbey in India.

During its theatrical run, the movie was preceded by a Short Film titled Hotel Chevalier, also directed by Anderson. It functions as a prologue to the main film, and introduces Jack (Jason Schwartzman) just before he went on the trip in India, and also features Natalie Portman as his on-and-off girlfriend.

Are those Dad's tropes?

  • Affectionate Nickname: Francis calls Peter "Rubby," due to his seemingly perpetual headache and the temple rubbing which comes with it.
  • Babies Ever After: Apparently for Peter.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Not for Peter, as he considered leaving his wife when he found out she was pregnant. He comes around by the end of the film.
  • Bookends: The ending scene of the three brothers catching a train mirrors the opening.
  • Buffy Speak: At several points throughout the movie.
    Peter: I'm going to go pray at a different thing.
    Francis: (paraphrased) We'll meet up at the top of that big thing.
  • Call-Back: The excerpt Jack reads from his new story at the end of the movie is a callback to a conversation he had with his ex-girlfriend in Hotel Chevalier, the short film that precedes this film.
  • The Cameo:
    • Bill Murray has an appearance at the start of this movie as a businessman chasing down the titular train. He comes back briefly as part of a montage at the end.
    • Natalie Portman can also count, seeing as she only appears in the actual film for about three seconds, despite being featured in "Hotel Chevalier."
  • Cassandra Truth: The brothers disregard their mother's warning about the man-eating tiger in her area, assuming it's just another excuse to avoid seeing them. They soon found out that she was right when she points them to the tiger paws on the ground.
  • Control Freak: Much of the tension and conflict between the three brothers comes from Francis' attempt to control and dictate everything on the trip, including ordering food for them, dictating where they go and what they can or not have, even going as far as to withhold their own passports from them (which angers both of them). He becomes slightly better about this as the film goes along.
  • Death of a Child: Despite their best efforts, one of three young boys dies dashed against some rocks in a river.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?:
    Francis: [Beat] Did you just fuck that Indian girl?
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Whitmans don't get along with each other very well. They manage to reconcile more towards the end of the movie.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Peter walks by Brendan using his laptop shortly after boarding the train.
  • Fanservice: The sex scene between Jack and his ex-girlfriend in Hotel Chevalier.
  • Flash Back Echo: The mechanic scene/the funeral.
  • Gaslighting: Mentioned as being something Jack's girlfriend could be doing to him.
  • Hero Antagonist: The conductor on the Darjeeling Limited is just trying to do his job and has to deal with three American tourists smoking where they shouldn't be, abusing prescription drugs to get high, banging his girlfriend, bringing a deadly snake onto the train and getting into fights with each other.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Although they don't get to see that much of India, the brothers manage to bond again and reconcile with one another over the course of their journey.
  • Like Father, Like Son: It quickly becomes clear once you meet her that Francis has adopted his mother's verbal quirks.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Two funerals feature in the storyline. One is talked about retrospectively, and while the audience does not see it, it is an important moment in the backstory. The other funeral is seen and represents a major turning point in the plot.
  • Missing Mom: Francis reveals partway through the movie that the real reason he called his brothers here was so they could find and visit their mother, who disappeared on them and didn't attend their father's funeral. They eventually do succeed in finding her and even getting to spend the night with her, though she ends up disappearing on them again the day after.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: As is Jack. Adding to this, Jason Schwartzman was actually a writer for the film as well.
  • Parents as People: The brother's mother is heavily implied to be neglectful and unfaithful towards them and their father, as Francis mentions that she's always disappearing on them and she outright states that she didn't go to the funeral simply because she didn't want to, not to mention she disappears on them again the day after they managed to find her. That said, in spite of her unfaithfulness, she is still shown to be loving and caring towards them and gives them a mostly warm welcome when they do arrive.
  • Pet the Dog: One of the train personnel catches the cobra which the brothers brought aboard the train, and later he says he killed it. Later we see him, apparently keeping the snake as a pet.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: Jack spends a majority of the film barefoot.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: The Hindi spoken in the film is untranslated and there are no subtitles present.
  • The Reveal: Francis spends most of film with his head wrapped up in bandages, he tells Peter and Jack it's because he crashed his motorcycle. Near the end of the film, he reveals that he did it on purpose.
  • Right Now Montage: It shows what is happening to the cast while playing The Rolling Stones song "Play with Fire".
  • Road Trip Plot: The bulk of the movie revolves around the three brothers riding the train through India and attempting (rather unsuccessfully) to bond with each other.
  • Roman Clef: Conversed
    Peter: Well, I'm not crazy about the part where I start screaming at the mechanic. That never happened.
    Jack: The characters are all fictional.
  • Rugged Scar: After Francis removes his bandages, his face is shown to be covered in wounds which have still not even fully healed.
  • Running Gag:
    • Peter using their father's personal belongings as his own.
    • "The characters are all fictional."
    • "Alright, let's make an agreement..."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The train prominently features a portrait of Satyajit Ray and the soundtrack has a number of excerpts of music scores from his movies (including some of them composed by Ray himself).
    • The name of the train which the brothers board at the end of the film is "The Bengal Lancer."
  • Vehicle Title: "The Darjeeling Limited" is the name of the train which they ride for most of the movie.
  • Warm Place, Warm Lighting: The film tints rural Indian villages a distinctive golden shade.


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Every Wes Anderson Film

This Honest Trailer points out the structural similarities of Wes Anderson's films.

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