The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) – Film Review
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson
by Joss Spry
If you didn’t make a point of seeing this first time around, perhaps you were not yet won over by the peculiar charms of Wes Anderson’s universe.
Fair enough. Anderson’s idiosyncratic artfulness and sentiment aren’t for everyone. This film may be less a taste you need to acquire and more simply a love-it-or-hate-it movie. Nevertheless, it’s worth catching The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou if only for a chance to see the great Bill Murray as Zissou. He’s a jaded oceanographer searching, Cap’n Ahab style, for the mysterious Jaguar Shark. Why? Because it made fishfood of his longtime partner and mentor.
“A strange, sad and colourful oddity”
Add to the mix great turns from Jeff Goldblum (Zissou’s ‘part-gay’ rival) and Owen Wilson, shoals of stop-motion sea critters that have seemingly swum in from a charming world of their own, and an encounter with a rather nasty gang of pirates that is surprisingly brutal amid all the whimsy on offer, and you’re still only scratching the surface of the delights that this strange, sad and colourful oddity has to offer.
It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does.