The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

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Courtesy of IMDb

Now I assure you this isn’t a Wes Anderson appreciation blog, I just happen to have watched this one recently. As far as I’m concerned, any film starring the charismatic Bill Murray is set to be an interesting one. Here, he teams up with director Wes Anderson to bring us the extravagant The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. This film oozes with Anderson’s distinctive directorial style and covert comedy. Once again he collaborates with his favourite actors: Willem Defoe, Owen Wilson and Jeff Goldblum. Also starring are Cate Blanchett and Michael Gambon.

Murray stars as Steve Zissou, an oceanographer who creates documentaries about his expeditions with his crew. Desperate to save his failing career, Team Zissou embark on another expedition in order to hunt down and kill the ‘Jaguar Shark’, which had allegedly eaten his best friend Esteban du Plantier. As Zissou was the only one to witness the incident, some question whether the creature is in fact just a figment of his imagination. Joining him are seemingly uptight and pregnant journalist Jane Winslett-Richardson (Cate Blanchett) and Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), a pilot who claims to be Zissou’s son.

Murray’s stern demeanor gradually weakens throughout the film as he gets to know his long-lost son Ned and realises how similar they are. The chemistry between Murray and Wilson is palpable and I am left wondering why they have never played father and son since. Anderson manages to make this film comedic and poignant at the same time and it remains one of the underrated films of his directing career. Oh, and did I mention that Brazilian musician Seu Jorge plays a portuguese version of Bowie’s ‘Queen Bitch’ at the end? Pure brilliance.

Rating: 4/5


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