Michael's Review of Bottle Rocket
I have been vocally critical of Wes Anderson on several occasions. Not because I think he is a poor director; stylistically I think he is pretty remarkable. The symmetry of his shots, the tracking, the color choices, all of these are typically top notch. However, I feel in several of his films style stands above substance to such a large level the films feel uneven to me. Ive often joked that every line in an Anderson film should begin with the parenthetical "without emotion". "Bottle Rocket", his first film, is not plagued as much with this hindrance. It's got a good amount of heart, and ranks with "The Royal Tenenbaums" as my favorite of Anderson's work for that reason. The vigor first time directors seem to often possess seems intact here; he wants to tell a simple story in a unique way, and he does it well here. And the cast doesn't feel like empty pawns to service the script; they are real characters with depth, especially Owen Wilson's Dignan in a breakout role. I enjoyed that this was a wildly different take on a heist film, and the fact that it shoots such a relatively uneventful robbery in such a virtuoso way is one of the funniest elements of the film to me. I genuinely like Anderson when I feel like he's doing something unique and with a soul to it, and this certainly is one of those films that maintains those qualities.