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After last week’s soul-crushing discussion of Dear Zachary, I figured we should change gears to something a little lighter before we dive back into another heavy film. And who better for something like than than Wes Anderson?
This week’s film, Bottle Rocket, was the first film Anderson made, and the screen debut for both Luke and Owen Wilson. The 1996 film centers around two directionless screwups as they decide to start their life of crime, holding up a used book store shortly after leaving a voluntery mental institution. A large chunk of the film takes place as they are on the run, laying low to wait for the heat to pass in a small motel in the middle of nowhere. During their stay, Anthony (Luke Wilson) falls in love with Inez, one of the maids at the motel while Dignan (Owen Wilson) tries to find a way for them to leave after their driver leaves them there.
Part of what makes this film so interesting is the fact that it was Anderson’s debut. Despite that fact, the style that he would later make famous is already present. And despite criticisms of his later works being too “style-over-substance,” the relationships in this film are potently troubled. Dignan is a manipulator who isn’t very good at manipulating, and Anthony follows him because he’s the most interesting person he knows. They’re both directionless people trying to create their own direction through the means they feel are best. While Dignan tries to live a life of crime, Anthony doesn’t feel fulfilled by it.
A reminder that this film is available on Netflix Watch Instantly, as well as the recently-released Criterion edition DVD and Blu-Ray. Be sure to watch the film and discuss it with us in the comments section below. Remember, the discussions are spoiler-heavy, so don’t read the comments until you’ve seent he film.