Rating: 8/10 - Excellent
If this 1996 Wes Anderson debut does not make you even remotely cringe with pure Wes ‘Andersonesque’ delight, then sadly the art of Anderson was not cut out for you to enjoy. As his debut, based on the short film by the same name, Bottle Rocket is the epitome of everything Wes Anderson. And an exciting, slow but rearing action comedy.
Director: Wes Anderson. Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Producers: Cynthia Hargrave and Polly Platt. Executive Producers: Barbara Boyle, James l. Brooks, Richard Sakai and Micheal Taylor. Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman. Score: Mark Mothersbaugh. Editor: David Moritz. Studio: New Line Cinema. Starring: Owen and Luke Wilson, Ned Dowd, Lumi Cavazos, James Caan, Shea Fowler, Haley Miller, Robert Musgrave, Andrew Wilson, Brian Tenenbaum. Running Time: 92 Minutes. Age Restriction: 16.
This film is indeed a full on Wes Anderson delight. Known for his specific camera angles, attention to detail (from the mise-en-scene through to the actor’s haircuts) — this debut shows the Anderson trademark in its purest and most indulgent form. With the plot unfolding in a strangely comical yet dry and unequivocal manner, Anderson pulls the reader into a world where ‘normal’ does not apply. The typical Anderson characters are portrayed here in their ‘early’ stages. If one watches some of Anderson’s later films it becomes clear that the characters were not yet fully developed. Nevertheless the adrenalin of witnessing such imaginative creativity at work does not even nearly disappoint.
Although Bottle Rocket has been accused of being pure indulgence on Anderson’s behalf, it could be asked whether such bountiful indulgence is thus a crime? As most of Anderson's’ films, Bottle Rocket indeed also has a cult following, from which could be said that the hidden treasures, as happens with most Anderson's’ films, are continually revealed and new treasures effaces in an ever-continuing Anderson abyss. Anderson’s trademarks is the true allegory of this film as it encompasses every scene, character and dialogue presented in the film. This early establishment of an easily recognizable and ‘adored’ trademark helped Anderson achieve a relative commercial success, which then also helped catapult him into the production of even greater Anderson films.
Bottle Rocket was a sweet precursor of what Anderson had in store for the film industry. Looking at that particular fact, it is clear that this film is a masterpiece in its own right as it exists mainly in a genre and distinct style and category of its own. Considering Bottle Rocket as more of a process work film than a resolved and finished piece, it is primarily a must see to anchor the Anderson appreciating foundation in any film lover. Quirky, fun and indeed laughable, Bottle Rocket complies only to the rules of Wes Anderson film, and the mere brilliance of Anderson’s keen establishment of his own genre in which he is impressively successful, makes for a noteworthy screening. Martin Scorsese lists Bottle Rocket as one of the top ten films from the nineties that are worth watching.
Bottle Rocket is available now on DVD.