Time: 91 Minutes
Age Rating: contains violence & offensive language
Luke Wilson as Anthony Adams
Owen Wilson as Dignan
Robert Musgrave as Bob Mapplethorpe
James Caan as Abe Henry
Lumi Cavazos as Inez
Andrew Wilson as Jon Mapplethorpe/Future Man
Director: Wes Anderson
A group of friends hatches a plan to pull off a simple robbery and go on the run. However, their ensuing escapade turns out to be far from what anyone expected.
I had been meaning to watch all of Wes Anderson’s films for some time, I’ve only seen about half of his filmography, and recently I decided to watch through all of it from the very beginning, starting with Bottle Rocket. Wes Anderson has one of the most distinct filmmaking styles that I’ve seen from a director, and I was interested to see how he has evolved over the years. Bottle Rocket really wasn’t what I was expected, even as his debut movie, but I really liked it. It was enjoyable, entertaining, and I’m glad that I watched it.
The script written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson works pretty well. The story was probably the weakest part of the movie, even though it’s reasonably decent for what it is. Bottle Rocket is an hour and half minutes long, for the most part it is paced well, and does well enough to keep you invested throughout. The first and third acts are pretty strong. However, it does slow down quite a bit in the middle section, and there’s a romance subplot that it focuses on quite a lot, which didn’t have me that interested. Although the plot does involve heists, it was about the characters first and foremost, and the movie definitely benefited from that. The dialogue is well written, and definitely was partly key to making the movie work as well as it did. Much of the writing isn’t quite what you’d expect from a Wes Anderson movie, and that’s especially when it comes to the dialogue. However, you can see certain elements that would later evolve into some of his trademarks, with the comedy, quirky characters and the like. The comedy is particularly great, with perfect timing and executions, making it quite a fun movie to watch.
The cast all worked really well in their roles, they interacted with each other really well, and had wonderful comedic timing. Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson are the main actors of the movie and they are great, with really believable on screen chemistry. Owen Wilson was particularly great, and you can clearly see why he collaborated with Wes Anderson so much (and he was even involved with the writing along with Anderson).
Like I mentioned earlier when it comes to the writing, if you watch Wes Anderson’s other movies and then look at Bottle Rocket, they very clearly don’t seem at first that similar, and that extends to the direction too. His familiar trademarks aren’t quite on display, for example the framing and editing of the shots, and the very distinct style that he has in films like Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom isn’t quite there yet. However, you do seem some glimpses of that in this movie, such as some of the use of colour and the great music choices. With this being his first film, you can tell that Anderson is that this point still figuring his own style out, however it’s pretty great for a first film.
I feel pretty confident in calling Bottle Rocket Wes Anderson’s weakest film even though I admittedly haven’t seen all of his movies yet. However, it’s still a pretty good movie as it is. Anderson’s writing is really good, his direction was solid and showed promise, the cast were all great in their parts, and really I had a fun time with it. It is worth watching for sure, especially if you are a fan of Wes Anderson’s films.