WARNING: Serious praise ahead, DO NOT read if you are sensitive to to admiration!
..doing my best to convince you to watch..
Wes Anderson, an auteur. A writer/director unlike any other, unique and enthralling, his stories are fantastical adventures of self-discovery, loss, and understanding with flashes of dark humour and heart-wrenching sympathy. His ability to turn a relatively mundane and easy premise into a whirlwind of cinematic genius is flabbergasting.
Let’s look at one of his earlier pieces; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, a tale about an oceanographer who has lost his panache and his best friend and so sets out on a whimsical revenge mission. On the surface it’s pretty ordinary, but when Anderson pulls you in deeper you realise that it is much more than revenge. It’s a complex affair with man and the sea, with family and love, triumph and defeat, and ultimately in the end, relief and closure; it’s life.
Anderson’s protagonists are always lost, they need to find themselves and live again, and it usually takes complete loss for them to do so. In The Royal Tenenbaums; the father (Royal) has completely neglected his family and realises that he has led a pretty boring and unsuccessful life, and so he tries to forgive himself and reconcile. Even his Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox, is a story about its protagonist losing his way and then redemption. But everything comes down to how central characters deal with pressure and conflict, that’s film, that’s scriptwriting- but with Anderson you always get a sense that you are with them, and that they need your guidance. He really brings you in.
The Darjeeling Limited is a film that uses everything he had ever done before hand and has wrapped it into a story that gives us perhaps not a comfortable ride but a wary one– have you ever watched a film or read a book and when it finished you just sat and smiled, you were not amused, but were pleased for the characters, you honestly felt like you were there with them, experiencing the highs and lows. This is what Anderson does; he brings you to the story. He doesn’t dangle it in front of you and tell you to watch, he simply allows you to become submersed into his world. The Darjeeling Limited is one of the most poetic and truly honest films about emotional baggage and dealing with grief I have ever watched.
His films are colourful and energetic, wonderful and weird, they transcend every aspect of cinematic genius and once more they are unique. His latest film and perhaps my personal favourite is Moonrise Kingdom, and if ever there was an argument for the director as an auteur this has to be it (forget Burton, forget Scorsese) when you watch Moonrise Kingdom you are strictly watching Wes Anderson, a story that is as innocent as it is peculiar. Each cinematic image is a landscape that would proudly sit above the mantelpiece; and its characters, well they move in ways which only Anderson could direct, their dialogue is unusually charming and fresh but with hints of ‘we have been here before’. In October when this film comes out on DVD please buy it, it is a work of art, so sweet and so delicately put together it’ll make your heart melt and teeth rot whilst giddying with excitement.
Okay, I know I have romanticised my infatuation with his work but each has their reasons for placing photos on the fridge door, so I gladly place down my magnets and give you Wes Anderson; watch, learn, cry, laugh, and love, but most of all just enjoy.