Friday, December 31, 2004

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Directed by Wes Anderson

Underpinning the last 30 minutes of The Life Aquatic is a pathos unfound in any of Wes Anderson's former films. Bottle Rocket, his buddy-cum-heist picture, ends with a feel-good moment that nestles warmly on the correct side (i.e. behind and slightly to the left) of sappy. Ibid The Royal Tenenbaums. Rushmore is slightly different - a coming-to-terms/new beginning type of thing. All that The Life Aquatic promises is an end. As Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) descends a stone staircase, with a young German boy propped upon his shoulders, the look on his face says one thing: I'm done. Essentially it is the whole of Lost in Translation pared down to one, 20 second slow-motion shot. It seems to me that Murray (ignoring, for a moment, his being the blue ribbon bearer in Anderson's actor stable) was the prime candidate to play Zissou. His performance is the dynamic mixture of dejection and humor necessary to pull off the jig - a man coming to terms with the ends of what he loves to do best.

This isn't to say that film lacks the earmark of hip humor that has graced Anderson's previous films. Zissou is easily one of the funniest pictures of the year, with moments ranging from Chuckle to Guffaw on my self-conjured Laugh Meter. The dialogue is snappy enough to supply the laughs, but chock-full of innuendo buried deep enough that, on first viewing, it feels like at least 25% of the jokes were missed. The soundtrack fuels the humor fire, with most of it comprised of David Bowie tunes translated into Portuguese and played on a nylon-string guitar by actor Seu Jorge (City of God.)

But the meat of the film, the real point of departure for Anderson, is that pathos. Steve Zissou is a famous oceanographer/filmmaker, with both job titles waxing suspect as the eponym ages. His concentration seems to be focused on the job. That is, until the job kills his best friend Esteban (Seymour Cassel.) The territory tread is somewhat akin to that of Collateral, but the result is different. Zissou decides to pursue Esteban's terminator, the Jaguar Shark, with the scientific purpose of destroying it. Rather than reaching the conclusion that a job is an endless pursuit that eventually destroys the pursuer (ala the aforementioned Collateral), the job in The Life Aquatic is a phase, passed on like the Olympic torch. Steve Zissou, by the end of the film, realizes that his phase is ending; the time to pass the torch has come. Ergo, the pathos. He is a somber individual, as anyone facing a massive change would be, but an individual seemingly content to pursue another adventure. This slight change in pattern turns what might have been an average Wes Anderson film (which, despite the word 'average', is above the fray of the usual Hollywood dander) into a departure for the director, a welcome step in a new direction.


Blogger nope said...


I'm sorry for being intrusive in to your blog. But I am Melissa and I am a mother of two that is just trying to get out of an incredible financial debt. See my hubby is away in Iraq trying to protect this great country that we live in, and I am at home with our two kids telling bill collectors please be patiant. When my husband returns from war we will beable to catch up on our payments. We have already had are 2001 Ford repossessed from the bank, and are now down to a 83 buick that is rusted from front to back and the heater don't work, and tire tax is due in November.

I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family

TV Central - Download full TV shows and series, newest movies, plus other downloads. Watch TV and movies online. Burn Them right to Blank CD's and watch them over and over again.

Messenger City - 10,000+ emoticons - Use Yahoo, MSN, ICQ and AIM all in one, skins, nicknames, bots, add-ons, emoticons, avatars and smilies.

Baja música gratis ahora. Busca y encuentra MP3, Películas, Software y más. Downloads ilimitados, Quema CDs & DVDs.

12 October, 2005 02:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right on track and not many people are willing to admit that they share your views. board lost message is an AWESOME place to discuss LOST.

28 October, 2005 23:40  

Post a Comment

<< Home