Ahead of the release of Isle of Dogs next month, I thought I would revisit and review the films of the now notorious Wes Anderson - kicking things off with his directorial debut, Bottle Rocket when he was a little name stepping into the limelight.

The film follows three misfit friends - the naive Anthony (Luke Wilson), who has recently left a voluntary psychiatric facility, the rich Bob (Robert Musgrave), and led by Owen Wilson's fast-talking, cocksure Dignan. The trio commit petty heists (a thoroughly brilliant scene has them hilariously robbing their local bookstore) in the hopes that it will lead to a bigger, more important job - more specifically, one as a part of an actual thieving gang - but, of course, it all quickly proves difficult for them, as we begin to learn that this might be quite the dysfunctional and inept group of robbers. Bottle Rocket is quite the charming affair. For a directorial debut, it's impressively constructed. Anderson tells a freewheeling story of friendship, love and "purpose" here that is full of enough quirk and heart to keep you entertained; if not anything groundbreaking or too memorable once the credits roll.

It's a story that meanders a lot, and it's the tonal and pacing flow of the narrative that really suffers a lot as a result - it's a very uneven, inconsistent film; one second we are engaged in a frenetic heist sequence and the next, we are at a motel in Spain and nothing notable seems to be happening. It's in this muddied and, at times, convoluted screenplay where Rocket suffers most. However, it is a hilarious film. Anderson and Owen Wilson (who co-wrote the script)'s writing shines in its comedic value; the film is full of hilarious one-liners and superbly timed moments of wit. It's also a film that is visually gorgeous - it bursts with colour and imagination. We care for these characters enough to engage with the material and be locked in for the story on offer here - and the performances from the Wilson Brothers are great - but the film just kind of lacks the taut focus of Anderson's later films and very much has that "debut" feel to its story and plodding nature. It's by no means a boring film; it's just one that feels choppy and uneven and this can cause it to really drag. But, as a debut, it's a solid film that is full of enough heart and comedy to remain a competent and fairly enjoyable watch, nonetheless, and one that certainly shows hints of the great talent of Wes Anderson as a storyteller that we have come to know and love today - if just lacking the polish of his newer projects.

Bottle Rocket is a charming and entertaining enough film for its time and one that certainly shows hints of the Wes Anderson flair we have come to know and love today.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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