Login

Bottle Rocket Review

Image for Bottle Rocket

Upon his release from a mental hospital following a breakdown, the directionless Anthony joins his friend Dignan (who seems far less sane than Anthony.) Dignan has hatched a hair brained scheme for an as-yet unspecified crime spree that somehow involves his former boss, the (supposedly) legendary Mr. Henry.

★★★★

A smart little first feature from Wes Anderson, made in collaboration with writer-star Owen C. Wilson (and several Wilson brothers). In an era not exactly short of quirky bungled heist movies, Anderson and Wilson take an interesting tack – coming in late on lifelong relationships, and showing us the pay-offs to friendships and resentments that have been simmering for years: note the scene as Dignan tries to explain his detailed scheme while Maplethorpe just wants to play with the guns bought with his money and Adams has to equivocate between the two.

Alienated rich boy Anthony Adams pretends to escape from the mental home to which he has voluntarily committed himself, to join his hyperactive best friend Dignan in a career of crime which begins with burgling his parents’ home. The third man on the team is Bob Maplethorpe , an even richer kid who is bullied by his jock brother ‘Future Man’ and gets to be the getaway driver on the grounds that he’s the only one who has a car.

James Caan pops up late, in a wry, tough guy role as a shady character who rips the kids off but is still a better parent than the other nonentities – telling Future Man off at a country club for picking on Bob, dishing out double-edged advice. The Wilsons in the leads play perfectly, with slightly goofy grins and a real sense of oddball friendship: Adams holds himself back a little because he knows where Dignan will drag him, while Dignan is really really trying (too hard) not to screw up this time, and a lot of the script has the ring of authenticity if only because all the private jokes and references that pass by are plainly embedded in the real lives of the creators.

Brilliant blueprint for the (now well known) Anderson style.

More from Empire