I heart Rushmore
14 February 2014
"There is a theory that creative productivity is at its most fertile when a person is in their twenties and from that point the inventive synapses are in decline. Take for example Orson Welles and his master piece Citizen Kane which he wrote, directed and starred in at the age of 26. T.S Eliot wrote the poem Prufrock when he was just 22 and of course Leanne Rhymes won 2 Grammys at the age of 14 before dropping off the radar. Max Fischer (a then unknown Jason Schwartzman) student at the prestigious Rushmore Academy is facing the same fate; Max won a scholarship to Rushmore for writing a play at a young age but has since declined into the worst student on campus and is on the verge of expulsion.
Rushmore is director Wes Anderson’s second feature; having failed to gain any studio recognition for his debut Bottle Rocket, Anderson may have felt that he needed a breakthrough. Perhaps this is why for me, Rushmore feels like Wes Anderson’s most complete film to date. Stylistically it’s gorgeous and has all the quirks and flourishes you’d expect from the Texan born filmmaker whilst still feeling remarkably fresh and exciting, even after a tenth viewing. Silky smooth slow mo, a go-out-and-buy soundtrack and the resurrection of Bill Murray as cool, cult hero ensure this is Anderson’s film; however there is more to Rushmore than first meets the eye.
Beyond the films aesthetic appeal, which is somehow fantastically modern and unmistakeably nostalgic, and its simplistic personal plot lies Wes Anderson’s real talent. From the moment Max appears on screen he is intriguing, the relationships encountered during the film no matter how small are special which makes observing characters interactions with one another feel like a privilege. Whether it be Max’s toxic encounters with his perceived love rival Dr Flynn (Luke Wilson) or members of Rushmore’s faculty discussing Max’s play, each interaction is equally as fascinating. It is these small moments that encourage the audience to analyse their own relationships with people and how we coexist on any level; within a room, a cinema or a planet. Perhaps that is why the film’s resolution is so affecting and is a technique which Wes Anderson uses frequently, assembling all his quirky and personal characters under one roof, existing harmoniously together. The final set piece looks like an oil painting containing all the silent conversations and mystery that a piece of art can contain.
It seems only appropriate that from the production of Rushmore another great relationship was formed- between Star and director. Bill Murray and Wes Anderson have collaborated on all six features since Bottle Rocket and will work together again in the much anticipated The Grand Budapest Hotel released on 7 March."
The We <3 Wes Season continues next Monday with The Royal Tenenbaums.