Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – 2004


When thinking of famous actor/director collaborations, pairs such as De Niro & Scorsese, Hitchcock & Grant or Burton & Depp seem to spring to mind. Well, another pair is definitely worthy of a spot on this list; that pair being Anderson & Murray.

Apart from 1996’s “Bottle Rocket”, Bill Murray has appeared in every single full length feature of Anderson’s. The same thing could be said for that of Owen Wilson or Jason Schwartzman for that matter. Keeping up with the recent “Ander-monium”, comes the 2004 revenge/adventure tale, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”.

Bill Murray stars as Zissou, a oceanographer who recently lost his best friend at the hands, or mouth, of a giant mythical shark. Zissou plots bitter revenge against the beast and (in typical Anderson fashion) assembles a large crew to accompany him on his quest. The crew includes old friends, his estranged wife and a new inclusion who believes he might the Zissou’s long lost son.

Once again, the cast is dense and highly impressive. Names like Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Noah Taylor join Murray on his journey to hunt down and assassinate the legendary ‘Jaguar Shark’. 


This is a longer film in comparison to Anderson’s other features with a runtime of nearly 2 hours and it seems to take a more violent, darker route at points which is odd given the colourful, lightheartedness of the imagery; the underwater scenery is like that of “The Mighty Boosh”. 

There are some hysterically funny moments in “The Life Aquatic”, some of Dafoe’s dialogue is golden, whilst the ‘rabbit ear interview’ scene is not to be missed; it’s by far and away the highlight of the film.

A master of the ensemble, Anderson strikes yet again, however when compared to “Grand Budapest” or “Moonrise Kingdom” it does not surpass. The challenge is now set for his first two films “Bottle Rocket” and “Rushmore” to take the title of ‘best Anderson feature’ from his latest, finest and ‘grandest’.



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