Directed by Wes Anderson
Running time: 118 minutes.
Rated R for language, some drug use, violence and partial nudity.
Bill Murray Steve Zissou
Owen Wilson Ned Plimpton
Cate Blanchett Jane Winslett-Richardson
Anjelica Huston Eleanor Zissou
Willem Dafoe Klaus Daimler
Jeff Goldblum Alistair Hennessey
Michael Gambon Oseary Drakoulias
Noah Taylor Vladimir Wolodarsky
Bud Cort Bill Ubell
Seu Jorge Pelé dos Santos
Robyn Cohen Anne-Marie Sakowitz
Waris Ahluwalia Vikram Ray
Niels Koizumi Bobby Ogata
Pawel Wdowczak Renzo Pietro
Matthew Gray Gubler Intern #1
Steve Zissou is a filmmaker in a similar vein as Jacques Cousteau. His specialty, aquatic documentaries, is something he has been struggling with in recent years; Alistair Hennessy, who quickly emerges as his rival, is still enjoying great success. His wife Eleanor, known as the brains of the Zissou operation, seems more or less indifferent towards him. Oh, and his best friend, elderly statesman Esteban du Plantier, has just been eaten. By a shark.
The movie quickly gets underway from here, introducing several memorable and eccentric characters such as Klaus Daimler and Ned Plimpton. Throughout the movie, I was quite enamored with its dark sense of humor and awkward relationships; tension arises between several characters due to a budding romance and a few other 'minor' developments. In fact, the whole production seemed almost like a reality tv show, but as the movie makes clear, much of it is contrived intentionally.
The soundtrack is something I also enjoyed greatly. From the Portuguese conversion of David Bowie songs, executed very well by Seu Jorge (playing Pelé dos Santos), to the minimalist but fast-paced electronic accompaniments to the documentaries, I found myself tapping my foot throughout the entire movie. The music all fits together quite well and provides the viewer quite well with a frame of mind as to what the general feeling of the scene is.
I giggled throughout the entire movie, but found myself alone in some of my laughter. I think this is due to an inordinate amount of enjoyment at watching dysfunction played out on screen. Thus, perhaps this movie is not for everybody. If you liked The Royal Tenenbaums (also directed by Wes Anderson), you're probably also going to enjoy this one. Otherwise, if you want to watch a show-boating has-been documentarian hilariously struggle through the making of one of his best productions ever, this could be your movie. I, for one, found it absolutely brilliant.