(The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001 – Touchstone Pictures)
This film remains one of my all time favourites. I’m not the biggest fan of Wes Anderson because I sometimes find his style overwhelming. Though I appreciate the unusual and enigmatic use of camera movements, I feel that sometimes this ‘form’ becomes more important to maintain than the films plot and is therefore somewhat distracting. This however isn’t the case for The Royal Tenenbaums.
The story is magnificently simple. The use of Alec Baldwin’s voiceover quickens the pace of the film, creating a snappy entertaining opening that just begs curiosity. The odd cutaways are charming and humorous, used at just the right level to avoid being repetitive. I’m not one to pick up on framing and cinematography, but there were multiple moments this time round where I just paused the film and looked – this shot below somehow manages to frame ten characters with ease, creating a beautiful painting type frame.
It’s obvious a lot of thought went into each moment and that makes the film all the more rewarding. It’s the intrinsic combination of the films look and the touching, quirky and dark plot that give this film great heart.
It’s a small story, a universal one about family politics. It’s funny how relatable it is. Families are strange, not one is perfect. It’s all the more poignant this time round, the contrast in feeling between the positive youth and being an adult is vivid. Not one character feels paper thin, instead they are well flesh out beings that have more than one level of thought. No role is glamorous, every character is flawed – this is the type of film that should get more attention over films that falsely perpetuate perfection. Flaws are one of the most human of attributes.
It’s the perfect film to start of week 6 of my MA.