Bottle Rocket (1996)

Having seen all of Wes Anderson most recent films, and having adored every single one of them, I decided to check out the rest of his filmography, starting with Bottle Rocket, his debut.

The film follows a group of friends who decides to rebel against the norms of everyday life to pursue a career of professional criminals. After Dignan (Owen Wilson) rescues Anthony (Luke Wilson) from a voluntary mental hospital, they convince their friend Bob (Robert Musgrave), who has a car, to join them and rob a library. After successfully pulling off the heist, they hide out in a roadside motel where the group of friends eventually breaks down and things take a turn for each one of them.

The plot doesn't have a lot of substance --actually, it's so thin I'm not even sure it's got a point-- and it's a little all over the place, but, as the story unfolded, I was immediately hooked and I could not take my eyes off the screen. I even loved the clich├ęd, slow and yet rushed romantic subplot involving Anthony and a non-English speaking Mexican maid (Lumi Cavazos) that doesn't go absolutely anywhere.

It's okay though as Bottle Rocket is actually a character study. Just like any other Anderson movie, the film has quirky and dysfunctional characters. They are deep but not complex, they are simple me with simple desires, three men who are just trying to live out their dream. They are unbelievable and believable at the same time; they are three losers but they are so charming and interesting you can't help but love them.

It also helps to have actors who perform very well, and Bottle Rocket has them. Both Luke and Owen Wilson give extraordinary and inspired performances, the first as Anthony, an honest, innocent but not naive man who is searching for himself, the latter as Dignan, a confident wannabe master thief. And the chemistry between the two of them, oh man, it is on fire!

Columbia Pictures
The film also includes strong performances from James Caan as Mr Henry, Dignan's former boss at a landscaping company as well as the leader of a gang of master-thieves, and Lumi Cavazos as Inez, the maid Anthony fall in love with --she is so lovely and has such a nice chemistry with Luke Wilson, you get really sucked into the romance. The standout, however, is Robert Musgrave as Bob, a depressed and quite pathetic rich kid.

At last but not least, the humour. It is so subtle and ironic. I'm pretty sure I missed some of it --not a problem though as I'm planning to rewatch this as soon as I've seen the rest of Anderson's filmography-- and yet it was incredibly hilarious. At times I found myself laughing and I didn't even know why.

Oh, shoot, I almost forgot to mention the cinematography. It is sometimes amateurish and far from the beauty of Anderson's later work, but it's still charming and adds to the story.

6 comments :

  1. Uno dei pochi film che mi mancano di Wes Anderson… non sono mai riuscito a trovarlo!

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    1. Spero che riuscirai in questa impresa, merita davvero di essere visto.

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  2. I have not heard of this movie but it sounds good. I can't get over how young Owen Wilson looks

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    1. Both Luke and Owen were so young in here. I can't get over it either.

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  3. For me, this is one of Anderson's finest films as I was one of those that really liked it just Anderson was becoming prominent and I still enjoy it to this day. It may not have the richness of later films but it showed what he can do.

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    1. My problem with Anderson is that all of his movies are one of his finest films. He is so consistently great.

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