Wesley Wales Anderson surely qualifies as one of America’s finest and most original comedy filmmakers. As a pioneer of his own brand new style of dry-humoured full-featured films, shorts and commercials, it wouldn’t be right not to place him in this category.
Wes is generally quite a low key director. While this is certainly true, he also appears to be very quiet, gentle and unimposing, the kind of guy you’d like to have as a mentor, an older brother or a best friend. Often called an ‘auteur’, he likes to be a part of every aspect of his films’ creation. This might be the reason why they all contain his own highly distinct stamp. This stamp is that of pure creativity – a strange combination of humour, colour and personality. It’s hard to say exactly why his films carry this effect. It seems as though it comes down to a number of things that I’m not quite sure of. Each film contains a celebration of the quirkiness of his imagination, and the hilarity of the life he must see around him. The distinction of his work is probably understood best with the explanation of three things: script, cinematography and soundtrack.
Τhe script in each film usually revolves around a large number of detailed characters, much of the time in a family (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr Fox) alongside an eccentric dialogue. With the introduction of these characters, Anderson’s obsession with people’s flaws becomes abundantly clear. His portrayal of these quirky, but deeply troubled characters is something entirely his own, placing them in peculiar situations, forcing them to face their issues in unusual ways.
Wes Anderson’s soundtracks are generally made up of an assortment of folk and rock classics, consisting of bands like the Kinks, Love, the Rolling Stones and the Proclaimers. Though it’s easy to load a film with great songs, it’s a little harder to produce a great soundtrack, and what I’ve found with this guy is that he knows more than good music. Each song enters the picture at just the right time, lifting the movie to almost unreachable heights. Remember Love’s ‘Alone Again Or’ in Bottle Rocket?
Lastly, all his movies are mainly and deliberately filmed using primary colours. This gives his work a unique style and a surreal feel, as if the world’s that are shown in his films are suspended between a sort of dream and reality. Have a look at the colours in the Darjeeling Limited and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
These three things might help in developing at least some understanding, and perhaps a little insight into the core of Wes Anderson’s work. They definitely help me understand, though I think something much, much deeper lies within. With my first viewing of Darjeeling, a great smile was ever-present on my face, the laughter Ι shared with my friends was loud and plentiful, but I didn’t leave the cinema feeling happy. I left the cinema with an intense urge to re-evaluate my life, to change, to break on through.