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Bottle Rocket (1996)

Theyre not really criminals, but everybodys got to have a dream.

Directed by:

Wes Anderson

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 92 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

With their baby-smooth complexions and rubbish hairstyles, Wilson brothers Luke and Owen look alarmingly young in ‘Bottle Rocket’. And well they should, for before universal fame and fortune for the pair of them came this, their debut feature outing along with director, co-writer and regular co-conspirator Wes Anderson.

Based on a black-and-white short from two years earlier, the film centres around lawn-mowing Dignan (Owen Wilson), his desperation for acceptance and ever-so-slight delusions of grandeur. He fancies making it to the big leagues as a feared criminal, and longs to mastermind the kind of heist that’ll gain him notoriety first and wealth second. So, having recruited the assistance of best pal Anthony (Luke Wilson), an “escapee” from a voluntary mad house, he sets about planning the big job to match his ambitions.

Consistent tongue-in-cheekery rather than outright comedy, it’s the sort of film that grows on you the more you watch it. Blessed with unswervingly marvellous dialogue and a steady stream of underplayed humour, it’s not at all surprising to discover this rarely-televised gem has built up a substantial cult following over the years.

If it has one weakness, it’s the superfluous romantic sub-plot between Anthony and Paraguayan motel maid Inez (Lumi Cavazos). Their sudden tumbling head-over-heels in love never seems particularly credible, and tends to feel like it’s only there to beef up the plot and the running time. Thankfully though, it doesn’t detract too much from what is an oft-underrated and highly watchable crime caper. For Wilson/Anderson fans this one’s a must.

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It's Got: Elastoplast on the nose, and a fantastic yellow jump suit to wipe the floor with anything you’ll find Uma Thurman wearing in Kill Bill.

It Needs: Some better extras – surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to get Wes and Owen to provide an audio commentary on their first piece of work?

DVD Extras Just some trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

Summary

Dimwit characters and clever laughs combine – it’s a great concoction.

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