Sunday, 15 March 2009

RUSHMORE (dir: Wes Anderson)

RUSHMORE (dir: Wes Anderson)


Rushmore is one of those quirky cinematic gems that seems to pop up out of nowhere sometimes and proceeds to split and divide all those that sail in her. Indeed this was the movie that prompted me to buy/get a DVD player when it wasn’t released on videocassette. And that is just the normal version of the movie not even the much lauded and celebrated Criterion Collection version.

With his second full length feature Wes Anderson managed to tap into a number of universal themes via exaggerated and flawed characters to bring along a touching experience that in fact appears to celebrate the wrinkles and eccentricities that charms the viewer into caring about the participants through the duration of the movie even when they are on opposing sides of an argument/disagreement, at loggerheads. Indeed there is a distinct role reversal between the characters Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and Herman Blume (Bill Murray) as they descend from an aspiring and accomplished/successful captain of industry down to acting like a couple of bickering school children.

I went to see this movie in Ipswich with my old Gringo Records partner. He knew more about it than me but with the experience I was suckered into an emotional area I hadn’t felt off the back of many movies that year (or many since). One of the strongest comparisons I came up with was how the mood was similar to Harold And Maude. Even though Rushmore is nowhere near as dark as Hal Ashby’s masterpiece it does contain a similar (un)healthy dose of dysfunction and heavily buried heart.

For anyone that has ever attempted to punch above their weight in a misguided manner in the stakes of the heart, Max’s obsession with teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams) is painfully cringeworthy and delicately played out albeit it with the subtly of sledgehammer in some of their pursuing gestures.

As much as he tries in his efforts to leave a mark on the world there is no hiding the fact that Max is a fuck up and when it appears as if his world falling apart around his ears there is a distinct sadness attached to his loss of spark coming after the viewer has long since found themselves morally invested in his being. Likewise when Blume appears to be conceding defeat there is another sense of loss attached to proceedings. Slowly as Max and Herman plummet and eventually build themselves back up there is a distinct sense of victory attached to the return of the underdog.

To be continued…….