The Royal Tenenbaums

It is official. I am in love with Wes Anderson, or maybe it is only lust? Either way, after watching The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) I have succumbed once more to his intriguing artistic spell. That and the combination of Karen Patch’s costume design (Danny Glover is a silver fox in his blue suit and bow tie), the music (which is infectious), the acting (Gwyneth Paltrow is tolerable!), and the cleverly titled Gypsy Cab company, this movie is beyond original, while remaining entertaining and catering to the profitable desires of studio executives. I was mucho impressed!

What I find to be one of Anderson’s strength’s is that he can manipulate the simplest of themes into something that has seemingly never been touched. The motif of ‘division’ or ‘separation’ is prominent in the films narrative, but I thought that it was executed in a clever way through the mise-en-scene. For example, in the scene where Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) tells his not-divorced-ex-wife (Angelica Huston) that he is dying of cancer, they are standing to the right of the screen, creating a clear divide in the frame. Also, on the left side of the screen, there is a tree that is split down the middle, again reiterating the motif of divided relationship between Royal and his family. Furthermore, the Gypsy Cab’s license plate is divided down the middle, one side coloured red and the other is white. It is this type of attention paid to minute details that makes this film even more appealing and enjoyable, especially when you can spot these hidden treasures. I know I probably missed many of them, which means I’ll have to re-watch it. Oh the torture!


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