I don’t think that I get on well with Wes Anderson films. I’ve only seen a couple, and yet they were enough to tell me that I just don’t quite connect with his comedic sensibilities and the way he writes characters. There were a few moments here in Rushmore that made me smile, but I have to say that they were pretty few and far between. And as for his and Owen Wilson’s supposedly Dahl esque exaggerated characters, they were written and performed so as to feel just a little too unreal, and consequently didn’t properly involve me in the film.
I guess the biggest problem here is that I just didn’t care what happened to any of the characters. Schwartzman does a great job of playing the utterly repulsive and annoying lead, especially so when you consider that this is his first film appearance, and his fantastic co-stars Bill Murray and Olivia Williams also do well with what they are given, but none of them have an arc, or trait that makes them engaging. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy watching them play off each other comedically, because there were several scenes which really worked for me, but the writing never truly buries down beneath this surface level to reveal anything more meaningful.
I understand that Wilson and Anderson have written a tale that is filtered through the mindset of its misguided lead character, that doesn’t try to meet our expectations but instead aims for something more offbeat, and which doesn’t try to make its lead likeable through some forced positive character flaw, but if they are going to do all of that then they should still give some meaningful reason for me to become invested in the film. I know that there is a big fan base for this one, and I can appreciate why, but Rushmore gave me a little more than a couple of laughs and a mildly entertaining time, and I was left a little disappointed.
What is the film’s greatest strength?
Jason Schwartzman’s performance.
Its greatest weakness?
That it took great subject material, but didn’t explore it with enough depth.
Would I see it again?
I doubt it. I wouldn’t actively avoid the film, but once was enough.
Agree? Disagree? Haven’t seen it? Let me know in the comment box below!