The Darjeeling Limited represents a small but forceful step forward in the evolution of Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic) as a filmmaker. All the Anderson trademarks are still here: the obsession with family dysfunction, the stage-y tone, the exhaustively detailed production design, the awkward-yet-graceful camera movement. But where his last films traded human emotion for storybook artifice, Darjeeling walks a delicate balance between the two that results in a fully-realized picture that exudes love both for its damaged characters and its exotic locale.
To further summarize the plot would be pointless; one of the many joys of this film is its meandering nature. Not so much episodic as whimsical, Darjeeling takes its time, allowing the audience to get to know the brothers within the confines of the train before releasing them into the unfamiliar outside world. Tonally, the film is nicely broken into two parts: the train is where much of the signature Anderson humor is at its best, but once the brothers exit the train into the real world, The Darjeeling Limited becomes more grounded and poignant than the best parts of The Royal Tenenbaums.