The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (15)

Written by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, Directed by Wes Anderson
On general release from 25th February 2005

Reviewed by Adam Ford

If you've seen The Royal Tenenbaums or Rushmore then you know exactly what to expect from Wes Anderson films. There's a bunch of quirky and intriguing characters, a few moments of sparkling wit and a plot that doesn't make much sense at first but makes you go 'ooh...that's clever' repeatedly during the second viewing. The Life Aquatic (alright then...'with Steve Zissou') is therefore predictably unpredictable.

Zissou (Bill Murray) is a famous deep sea diver and filmmaker with a cult following, but he has that middle-aged sinking feeling. "I know I haven't been at my best this last...decade", he confesses, and with good reason. His wife (Anjelica Huston) is losing interest, he's running out of money, and his best friend Esteban has just been eaten by a mysterious 'leopard shark'. Zissou vows revenge on the shark and sets off on its trail accompanied by a pipe-smoking pilot he thinks might be his son (Owen Wilson) and a tearily pregnant British journalist (Cate Blanchett). There are also small but memorable roles for Willem Dafoe's jealous engineer, a rival oceanographer (Jeff Goldblum) and an overly friendly financier (Michael Gambon).

Zissou's voyage of discovery is brought to life in cool pastel shades and the splendour of the scenery is actually added to by some stylish use of CGI graphics. There's far much going on to take in, so yes, it all seemed disjointed. I don't know what the hell any of it means, but I left the cinema determined to find out.