Wes Anderson: Cinematic Exemplar

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Simply stated, Wes Anderson is the most original presence in American film comedy today. His confidence is endless, as he has a sharp ear for blatantly humorous dialogue; a gift for surprise, and for topping one joke with an even bigger one. Anderson is a filmmaker whose work you either "get" or you don't. Some people express a very true amazement at his films, some misinterpret the work severely, and some feel absolute hatred. He approaches the dysfunctions of our souls with such confidence that it's hard not to react to a certain extreme.

Anderson is fixated on failure, doubt, and depression; he also has a very good sense of class envy. Each of his four films is set within a sheltered, self-contained universe (upper-middle-class Texas youth with too much time on their hands in Bottle Rocket, a boys' boarding school in Rushmore, a family of fallen geniuses in The Royal Tenenbaums, and a depressed, washed up documentary director and his crew in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). Each features a character that's a little lower in the economic ladder, whose aspirations are to be a part of this exclusive famed upper class, with a deep need for family ( Owen Wilson played this main role in Bottle Rocket, Jason Schwartzman's Max Fischer defined it in Rushmore, Gene Hackman's worn father is the mortality in Tennenbaums, and Bill Murray's sob story in Life Aquatic).

Wes Anderson's films move at a very quick pace. He doesn't just spell things out for his audience, but rather gives one just enough to get by, and if one blinks they may just miss an important line or detail that is crucial to his characters' emotional lives. He sets it up in such a darkly comical manner, that one may not even...