Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Wes Anderson has several commonalities in his small but sublimely perfect body of work. His films are always about boys in their self-contained, almost hermetically sealed little worlds which are meticulously whimsical fantasies, (some would say, at worst, purposefully off-putting denials of reality). This is always combined with a role of the paternal father figure, who often is more immature than the boy.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is signature Anderson. Zissou is the paternal figure to his Team of oceanographic explorers / filmmakers while simultaneously being the most spoiled and selfish of little boys. Hehas the best toys of all of Andersons films, including a Submarine with his ex-wife's name painted on the side, and visibly crossed out, as well as a large sea-going vessel equipped with sauna and film-editing room. Zissou's world is even more self-contained than that of the Rusmore school, the Tenenbaums New York home, or the suburban upper-middle class neighborhood in Bottle Rocket.
The richly realized fantasy of Steve Zissou's world (complete with several moments of delicious artifice, many courtesy of master animator Henry Selick, but the key one, a walk-through of a cross-section of his boat, built at the Italian Studio Cinecittà), and the complexity of his character make this film an immersive experience. A pirate shootout, which concludes with a stealth-mission assault on a crumbling tropical hotel make it fun. And Steve's relationship with his wife, his long-lost son, and a pregnant reporter (Cate Blanchett in top form) make it poignant.
Wes Anderson is at the top of his game right now. This film will surely be remembered (for several reasons) as his 8 ½ and I must say that Bill Murray gives a complex performance equal to that of Marcello Mastroianni. If you haven't seen the Life Aquatic, you are missing out on the best of American Cinema.

Tonite, you can remedy this by showing up at 8:30 for a showtime start. Come by a little earlier for a drink if you like. I've even got the trailer for Murry's next film with Jim Jarmusch, Broken Flowers.


Blogger grace said...

omg. i loved this movie. seriously...

especially the devo soundtrack. heh.

12:14 p.m.  
Blogger Kurt Halfyard said...

Yes, I am addicted to anything by Mark Mothersbaugh! He has done all of Wes Andersons films, right back to 1996's BOTTLE ROCKET. But The Life Aquatic score is definately the most 'devo' sounding.

12:03 a.m.  
Blogger grace said...

i love that part when he's talking about the helmet and how they've put a radio in it... and he's oh, so slightly dancing along to that music.

shit. so funny.

1:58 p.m.  

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