Up untill recently I wasn't the kind of person to have favourites of anything. Favourite book, food, designer, artist, musician etc are difficult for me to answer and up until recently favourite director would be in that pile as well. That was until I saw The Life aquatic With Steve Zissou about 18 months ago. The slowly delivered dark humour may not be to everyones taste but I was instantly enamored with the film. Not only is the plotline funny, it is also incredibly sad and poignant in equal measures. The story is hard to summarise, and I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone but its a revenge story, with the real emphasis being on the relationship between documentary film maker Steve Zissou, his crew and a man who believes himself to be Steves son.
The film not only benefits from having an incredible cast (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Angelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe and Cate Blanchett all star) but it is also really well designed. Director Wes Anderson has many touches that tie all his films together, for instance his use of Futura in credits and title sequences, a favourite of mine. There is also beautiful cinematography throughout his films. Life Aquatic in particular is a wonderful film to look at. Shots like the one below make this film just that little bit extra good. For me Life aquatic really has it all.
I recommend to everyone that they should watch it, even though I know some people won't enjoy it anywhere near as much as I do.
Due to my enjoyment of Life Aquatic I set out to have a look at some of Wes Andersons other films. Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited were all acquired and watched, sometimes multiple times over the space of about 3 weeks.
What I really like about Anderson is that he has a signature style. As already mentioned, the use of the Futura typeface, use of same actors (Luke and Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzmann, Bill Murray and Angelica Huston are often included, even if just for very small parts), slow motion endings, damaged lead characters, strong women, lots of smoking. I saw Darjeeling limited without realising it had been directed by Anderson, but withn 15 minutes I was dead ertain it was one of his films. Simple things like short snappy dialogue, often bleak, often lined with dark humour. Darjeeling Limited is definitely the most commercial of the films I have seen from Anderson so far, I have yet to see The Fantastic Mr Fox though so that could all change. As with The Life Aquatic I could gladly recommend any of the films I have seen so far, from the bumbling would be thieves of Bottle Rocket, the duel between a 15 year old boy and married man for a womans affections in Rushmore, the life and troubles of a dysfunctional family in The Royal Tennenbaums to the journey for self discovery in Darjeeling Limited and of course a mans struggle to deal with his failing career and loss of his friend in The Life Aquatic. I'd love for some of these films shown at Kino4 film night, maybe we could have a Wes Anderson marathon....?