Tag Archives: Bottle Rocket

Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson)

Bottle Rocket is such a masterpiece of narrative design, it eschews drawing any attention to that design. Somehow Anderson and Owen Wilson manage to tell a satisfactory long short film and affix an additional thirty minute postscript to the whole thing.

It’s like a movie and a sequel all in ninety minutes. Or maybe they’re just setting up the train set for the first hour and loosing the trains for the last thirty minutes. It’s hard to say–Anderson employs obvious but unspoken connections and complexities. Even though the film is never simple, he refuses to make anything obtuse. The viewer just has to pay attention.

Like a metaphor for protagonist Luke Wilson’s romance with Lumi Cavazos. He’s ostensibly on the run from a book store hold-up and she’s a housekeeper at the motel where he hides out. Cavazos doesn’t speak English, Luke Wilson doesn’t speak Spanish. The script never goes for easy jokes; their romance is the calm. Even though it involves crime and occasional violence, Bottle Rocket isn’t dangerous. But through the performances and script’s delicate, deliberate treatment of the romance, the importance of a calming factor for Luke Wilson’s peculiarly troubled soul becomes clear.

Offsetting that Wilson is Owen Wilson as his frantic best friend. He gets all the fun stuff, only his performance can’t be easy. Bottle Rocket wouldn’t work if it were too fun or too silly. It’s absurd, but every moment’s real.

Great support from Robert Musgrave, awesome editing from David Moritz.

Bottle Rocket’s magnificent.

4/4★★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Wes Anderson; written by Owen Wilson and Anderson; director of photography, Robert D. Yeoman; edited by David Moritz; music by Mark Mothersbaugh; production designer, David Wasco; produced by Polly Platt and Cynthia Hargrave; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Luke Wilson (Anthony Adams), Owen Wilson (Dignan), Robert Musgrave (Bob Mapplethorpe), Andrew Wilson (Future Man), Lumi Cavazos (Inez), Shea Fowler (Grace), Donny Caicedo (Rocky), Jim Ponds (Applejack) and James Caan (Abe Henry).


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Bottle Rocket (1994, Wes Anderson)

It’s sort of hard to differentiate this Bottle Rocket from the subsequent feature. It looks like Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson had been working on parts of the script for a while (a handful of scenes appear verbatim in the feature) and, in a lot of ways, the short plays like an extended trailer.

As a director, Anderson has some of his distinctive framing—particularly in the two shots with conversation—but he doesn’t have a handle on how to film motion. Only at the end does he get it. The rest of the time, it’s problematic.

Owen Wilson is good—he has the character down already—but Luke has some problems. It’s like he hadn’t gotten rid of his accent yet and hadn’t decided if he was going to. Still, he’s fine. Robert Musgrave is good.

Anderson’s got his music choices down already… Bottle Rocket’s interesting, but clearly incomplete.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Wes Anderson; written by Owen Wilson and Anderson; directors of photography, Bert Guthrie and Barry Braverman; edited by Tom Aberg, Laura Cargile and Denise Ferrari Segell; produced by Cynthia Hargrave.

Starring Owen Wilson (Dignan), Luke Wilson (Anthony), Robert Musgrave (Bob Hanson), Elissa Sommerfield (Waitress at Diner), Isiah Ellis (Man on Street), Temple Nash (Temple) and Briggs Branning (Man at Golfs).


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