Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Slow and Weird

Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston

Director: Wes Anderson

Eschewing any niche, let alone genre, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is charming, sometimes even despite itself. A fantasy tale of a man searching for the shark that killed his partner, it also adds in a “father/son bonding” story as well as an “underdog rises to the top in the end” subplot. In fact, those are only two of the many plots weaving in and out of this movie.

The man in charge is Steve Zissou (Murray), an explorer who turns in quirky documentaries that are, naturally, “live and not edited”. Well, sorta. He’s on the ropes financially and the search for the killer shark may very well be his last trip. Into this mix comes a young man (Wilson), who may or may not be his long-lost son. And to add to the chaos is a reporter (Blanchett), doing a piece on Zissou. She’s a bit hostile, at first, for her own reasons. Then of course there is the insurance company man, sent out to keep track of all money spent.

But never mind. It would be foolish to try to detail everything that goes on, because there are so many detours and bizarre little scenes as to make the plot weave around like a drunken sailor. The whole is better than the sum of its parts, which turns out to be a slightly crazy, slightly melancholy tale of a man trying to get by doing the thing that he loves: being on the ocean. The deadpan delivery, side-trips to various locales, and weird occurrences may stretch credulity in any other movie, but oddly feel right at home here. I enjoyed the whole, but I can’t say everyone will. If you don’t mind charming and a bit bizarre, go ahead and give this one a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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