Saturday, October 27, 2007

God Unlimited

I love movies, but I've tried very hard not to have my posts here turn into a lot of "What Would Jesus Watch" type comments. However, I'm going to break that rule and suggest that Christians might want to catch Wes Anderson's new flick, The Darjeeling Limited. This is not at all a "Christian movie". (There is adult content and language if that is an issue for you). But the constant thought I had while watching this movie was to ponder what it means to be a Christian in a world in which, through all the struggles, it is possible for all of humanity to view the transcendence and universality of God, but in which the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus remains a singular event.

As for the movie itself, I give it about 4 out of 5 stars, and I believe that (together with Rushmore) it will eventually be my favorite Wes Anderson movie after Bottle Rocket. In fact, I strongly suggest anyone who has not done so watch Bottle Rocket before watching Darjeeling Limited. Maybe no one else sees them this way, but I think of them as the first and second parts of what I hope will become a trilogy. In Bottle Rocket, an astonishingly young Owen Wilson leads two of his friends (including real brother Luke Wilson) on an amazing journey. In Darjeeling Limited a suddenly almost middle-age Owen Wilson (appearing almost like a middle-age Dignan) leads his two cinematic brothers on an equally amazing journey. To close out the circle of threes, our brothers will interact with another trio of friends/brothers in a way that will change their lives.

And now for the fun part for Wes Anderson fans --- yes, a lot of it is there [Wes Anderson spoilers follow]: Tiny metal toys, Mr. Kumar, cutaway sets, Eric Anderson drawings, slow motion, sunglasses, memorable music, lists of things, and the fitting completion of the yellow jump suits/red warm-up suits trilogy. Most importantly, however, we need to remember that when Bottle Rocket and Rushmore were released, a lot of "comedy" in TV and the movies was dominated by cynicism, irony, and generally laughing at making people look like jerks. There was none of that in Wes Anderson. His characters fall in and out of love and back in again (Anthony and Inez; both Max and Herman with Rosemary, who's still in love with her late husband). They live on their dreams (Dignan and Max). When Dignan says to his friends, who are struggling to act normal watching him in prison, "We did it though, didn't we!", criminal that he is, he became one of my favorite characters in all of the movies.

Remember that Jesus was tried as a criminal and crucified, and that not any of his disciples standing around the cross could have understood, at that time, what he meant by "It is finished." The Gospel is the opposite of cynicism. That's why I like Wes Anderson movies.

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