Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bottle Rocket

I always figured I'd like Wes Anderson's movies, though I haven't seen any until now. Might as well start at the beginning. Bottle Rocket was originally a short film, and then it got remade into a full feature a couple years later. Anderson and Owen Wilson wrote the script, and Wilson and his brother Luke star in their first feature. It's a quirky comedy about a couple friends that seem like they'd rather be in a heist movie. The film begins with Anthony (played by Luke) "escaping" from a voluntary mental hospital and going along with his friend Dignan (Owen) in his plan to rob a bookstore. They recruit their rich friend Bob to be the driver, and then after the job, go on the lam in a motel a few towns over. Anthony meets someone at the motel, and events conspire to put a strain on his friendship with Dignan. Things continue from there, never getting too dramatic or exciting, but eventually coming to a head pretty naturally.

Bottle Rocket sort of feels like the definition of a good low budget comedy. There's not a ton of style or flash to the proceedings, but it's all well filmed and acted by the unknown cast. James Caan was probably the only one with an established career at the time to appear in the movie, playing a landscaper/criminal with some unique interests. The Wilson brothers do a good job, particularly Owen, who really sells every scene he's in and can make you feel sorry for him or hate him at the drop of a hat. The plotting is fairly slow, but the movie is never boring. It's not always laugh out loud funny, but there's a simple pleasure to watching it, and the characters carry it through it's quick running time. I often find the indie movie aesthetic to be trying, but that wasn't the case here, and it seemed like a pretty good way to start a career for all involved. Anderson's body of work is definitely something I'm interested in continued pursuit of.

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