Rushmore is a Wes Anderson film starring Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray as a young prep school attendee and his industrialist friend, respectively, who come to war over the affection of a grade-school teacher. It’s a simple plot, but with enough of a bent to it to make the story all its own, in that slightly off-beat quirky manner that so many indie films of the time tried to do, and in many ways still do.
This was my first Wes Anderson film, but his style was so over-reaching and prevalent through the whole film that I felt like I’d seen dozens of his films. Anderson is a fan of square and structured composition; quite often, the focal points of his shots are either direct center or just off-center, and in an unusual move Anderson will often move the camera when it otherwise would remain still in order to keep his compositions this way. It is quite unlike any other directing style I’ve seen in modern cinema, and I’d imagine is the reason Anderson’s breakout film made the list, for representation purposes. Thankfully, the rest of the film is up to par, especially the performances by Murray and Schwartzman; the latter achieving a breakthrough success thanks to the film, and the former garnering a revitalized career as a respected independent actor.
Even with all the elitism and the tiniest touches of pretentiousness, Rushmore still manages to be heart-warming and down-home all at the same time. This is the type of film that will probably end up being a love or hate affair; either you hate it and think it’s full of itself, or you love it for its charm and style and are willing to overlook its airs. I fell squarely in the latter category; it took a bit of work through the middle section, but by the end of the film I can say that I genuinely liked it, and I can give an honest recommendation in hopes that most of you will as well. It’s definitely at least worth a shot.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10