Home » Movies » Movie Review: Bottle Rocket (1996)

Movie Review: Bottle Rocket (1996)

Owen Wilson target shooting in Wes Anderson's directorial debut, "Bottle Rocket"

Owen Wilson target shooting in Wes Anderson’s directorial debut, “Bottle Rocket”

Since I reviewed The Grand Budapest Hotel, I’m going to share what I think of Wes Anderson’s other films. Wes Anderson is one of Hollywood’s most gifted and utterly unique filmmakers. He creates surreal worlds providing a beautifully structured visual style, a perfect balance of comedy and drama, and quirky and off-beat characters that can be related to in some way. Here’s my review for his first film, Bottle Rocket.

While attending the University of Texas in Austin, Wes Anderson had four films in mind: Bottle RocketRushmoreThe Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic. He meets up with his friend Owen Wilson to create a 13-minute short film called Bottle Rocket. When they screened it at Sundance, it caught the attention of James L. Brooks. He suggested Anderson and Wilson t0 adapt their short film into a full-length feature film.

Despite being a box-office flop in 1996 (budget of $7 million; made only about $1 million domestically), Wes Anderson’s directorial debut is a good introduction to his world of zaniness. The movie follows Dignan (Owen Wilson) “rescuing” his friend Anthony (Luke Wilson) from a mental institution. Dignan discusses his 75-year plan to pull off heists, and perhaps meet with Mr. Henry (James Caan). Along with their friend Bob Mapplethorpe (Robert Musgrave), they begin going on the run as fugitives.

Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson create an off-beat story with humor so dry that it’s impossible not to smile at the situations the characters are in. Featuring great performances by Luke and Owen Wilson and James Caan (a scene-stealer), a sweet (but not forced) love subplot, sharp direction by Anderson, Bottle Rocket is a solid debut from an excellent filmmaker.

3/4

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