Wes Anderson, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Mr Anderson, I loved thee. Another film about middle-age failure and father-hungry sons, there’s probably a few too
many relationships at work in this film. Which drag it down, diffuse the focus and leave the viewer slightly at sea. Sea films are dangerous, they swallow attention and careers. The detail was as always superb — Mr Anderson truly loves every fine touch — he aims for an absolute of set control and flavour which is admirable. The background of Italy was a nice touch. The ensemble was great. The best touches were the singing Brazilian, the electro-keyboard song and the outrageous gunfights. The interview scene with the killer whale in the background was tops. Cate Blanchett was luminous and consistent. Bill Murray was either not quite chaotic or essential enough to carry the drama. I love thee too, Bill, but something was missing. Between him and Owen and Anjelica and Willem there just wasn’t that access of depth and emotional reality (or need) that kept Tenenbaums rolling. Like the guy on IMDB says, there’s touches of Fellini comedy rubbing off from the Cinecitta studios. But Fellini, even at his nutty and dreamiest always has a foot firmly planted in humanity. At least this one is slightly more specific and detailed about mid-life wash-ups and mild desperation and resurgence. Take the scene with Werner, Klaus’ son. It could’ve been a real identifier, a child-moment of salvation, but it failed. Alas. Would it be inconsistent to ask for greater focus on human detail, the emotional fine print, as opposed to the set detail? I so much wanted to love this film that I felt a little jilted. Maybe a complementary set of them Adidas would’ve helped.