Saturday, November 21, 2009

Capsule Review: Rushmore (1998)

While Wes Anderson first made a strong impression with his quirky crime film Bottle Rocket, it was his next film that firmly established his unique cinematic vision that he would continue in his following films. Jason Schwartzman stars as Max Fisher, an unpopular student at the prestigious Rushmore academy who flunks out after spending more time on extracurricular activities than his studies. He strikes up a friendship with cynical businessman Herman J. Blume (Bill Murray) with whom he eventually battles for the affection of a beautiful teacher (Olivia Williams). As with his other films, Anderson shows a lot of affinity for the oddballs and outsiders in his film, populating his world with colorful characters and a soundtrack of 60s British rock that punctuates sometimes anarchic scenes. Most entertaining are Max's plays – odd pastiches of films like Serpico and Apocalypse Now – and the central performances; particularly Murray who shows off a dramatic ability that would serve him well in later roles in Lost In Translation and Broken Flowers.

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