Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996)I must admit that when I first saw Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums (I discover the director with that film) I cinematically felt in love. This off-beat, bittersweet, wrong and weird juvenile tale of love, family, lost and recover touched me very deeply even if it's depicted with grotesque characters, and bigger than life human beings. I know some find his films too cartoonesques or whatever but their message still passes on. To me the sensibility of this auteur is way more important than his cheesy still candy-eye images. I think he is the Martin Scorsese of his generation. Yes I said it now you can throw rotten vegetables at me if you want but I think that what they present in their frames are very different but they are from the same kind of mould. They both have unique ways of filming their scenes and their films are what they are. Entertainment that is deep, meaningful and easy to understand without being stupid or useless to your life.
Anderson's first film is quite enjoyable, by its story, two losers want to become someones and try to be robbers. They rob their parent's houses, libraries and go on the run. A major theme in Anderson's oeuvre is the childish acts of his adults. It's like they never grew up and mature to face their responsabilities and everything they do is think about themselves. Their decisions are influenced by their infantile impulses. The other recurring them in Anderson is the search of a missing or absent father figure. In Bottle Rocket its more subtle than in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou for example. We find that figure in James Caan's godfather character but in a more deviate form.
Bottle Rocket is in some ways more dramatic than comedic. Well, Anderson's films always overlap the two genres and sometimes it's hard to tell if a scene was intended for a good laugh or just plain pathetic sadness. It's always a bittersweet taste of melancholy of the end of the childhood and the ways to try to recreate the foolish plays we did when we were kids. Anderson's characters are constructed like if they were Michael Jackson. They never had any childhood and all the try to do is catch up with this thing missing from their lives... See here the opening sequence of The Royal Tenenbaums, the children of the family we're geniuses and all got into adult life too young.
Far from being my favorite Anderson film, Bottle Rocket is some way a very good and little seen indie film that announces the brilliant career of Wes Anderson and the Wilsons.