Blindspot: Bottle Rocket

bottle rocket

Here is my first post for the Blindspot series, in which I will finally get around to seeing the films that I have been really meaning to see.

Wes Anderson is definitely one of the most quirky and interesting independent directors to surface in the last 15 years or so.  I've seen nearly every one of his films, with me liking some of them (Rushmore) more than others (The Royal Tenenbaums).

However, a film of Wes Anderson's that I had not yet seen was his 1996 debut .  The film was also the film debut for (who co-wrote the screenplay with Anderson) and his brother (the film also features their, lesser known, older brother Andrew).

I found the film interesting to watch in reference to Wes Anderson's status as an auteur.  By all accounts, I would consider Bottle Rocket, which is about a trio of petty criminals, the most “normal” of Anderson's films.  That said, you could still see signs of the quirky elements that would be much more prominent in Anderson's later films.  Most notably, his use of classic rock songs (especially those by the Rolling Stones) in some scenes.

It can be said that the film has no real story and just follows the trio of Anthony (Luke Wilson), Dignan (Owen Wilson), and Bob (Robert Musgrave) through a series of different scenarios, which make up the different acts of the film.  The first act sees the trio planning and executing a robbery, the second act has them hiding out at a hotel (where Anthony falls in love with the housekeeper), and the third act sees them performing a larger crime, assisted by Mr. Henry (James Caan).

Apparently Bottle Rocket was not much a success when it was released, however I have to say that I enjoyed the film.  It's definitely interesting to see this film 16 years after its release, with the full knowledge at how increasingly quirky Wes Anderson's films would get after this, very straightforward, debut film.

My thoughts on this film wouldn't be complete without making an observation about Owen and Luke Wilson's haircuts.  In the film, Owen Wilson had a very short buzzcut, while Luke Wilson had a more longer wavy style.  I find this interesting, since in later years it would be Luke who typically sports the short haircut, while Owen grows it longer.  I notice these things. 😛

Bottle Rocket was definitely an interesting start for an interesting director.


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.