There’s no shortage of movies (or books) that set tormented, navel-gazing Westerners against alien, usually somewhat exotic landscapes and allow said protagonists to grope around for some vague and often hackneyed sense of meaning in their lives. On one level Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited is a parody of that trope, but on another it’s just a very long Louis Vuitton ad. Heavily stylized and, like most Anderson films, fairly cute, it was filmed in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan — a state that is not only the most overly trafficked tourist destination in the country, but also almost on the exact opposite end of India from Darjeeling, the purported destination of the film’s protagonists’ purported journey. The train itself has the look of any of India’s rumbling, overcrowded long-haul sleepers, except its interior at times feels conspicuously like a Brooklyn apartment. Fittingly, despite the fact that it’s on a set of rails, the train ends up getting lost.
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