Saturday, January 06, 2007

Watched Bottle Rocket for maybe the third time last night and was finally convinced of the fact that it is Wes Anderson's best movie so far. This is a bold statement I know, considering he's created to other great films, Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums. But it seems that as Anderson continues to add to his personal canon, the narratives and characters become more and more absurd and sentimentalized. This fact no better expresses itself than with Steve Zissou the main character in The Life Aquatic, Wes's latest picture. Bill Murray is good in pretty much everything he does and this deflects the limitations of the character he portrays, deflects the fact that it is too comic, too much of a caricature of a real life Steve Zissou who has more subtle but more defining characteristics.

It is also painfully realized that Wes is still stuck in one mode of storytelling which however unique and personal it may be has gotten tired from overuse. I may just be too harsh of a critic but I wonder now whether there are any directors who were able to break out of their style and form a new version it. What comes to mind, though my cinema knowledge is fairly limited, is really no one. It's like a director is incapable of escaping his own mindset, incapable of looking back at the language he has used and then unlearning it. How do I unlearn English for that matter? Maybe I'm just fed up with the auteur mode of expression altogether. Perhaps some day a director will come along hell-bent on redesigning his voice with every movie, one trump after another. That'll be the day.

1 comment:

maya said...

I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the matter of Steve Zissou; I think, as a character, he is pitch-perfect for the slightly off-kilter world Anderson creates in Life Aquatic. That scene when Zissou overhears ppl talking about his earring, or the painfully awkward one where he introduces Wilson to Anjelica Huston, or the final one where the jaguar sharks appears to the tunes of sigur ros -- I think there's an element in all of them that's somehow more real than real.

Also: Stanley Kubrick. From Dr. Strangelove to Barry Lyndon to The Shining and Full Metal Jacket -- I'd say 'reinvention' might not be a strong enough term for that particular journey.