***½/**** Image A+ Sound A Extras B+
starring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Mason Gamble
screenplay by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson
directed by Wes Anderson
by Angelo Muredda It's hard to talk about Wes Anderson these days without addressing the prevailing image of him among detractors as a precious aesthete who makes dioramas instead of movies. So let's start there. As with most shorthand characterizations of idiosyncratic artists who carve out a niche for themselves instead of diversifying, there's some truth to the charge: Mr. Fox didn't accidentally wear the same corduroy blazer as his director, and surely Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman didn't just frame themselves in the centre of the screen for the train-bound section of The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson, for his part, has owned up to his formal indulgences. On the audio commentary for Criterion's excellent edition of Rushmore, he admits sheepishly that the film's multi-ethnic, age-ranging rainbow coalition of players are basically clear types pulled from colour-coded storybooks--the sort of people you could get an easy sense of simply by drawing.