The characters in Bottle Rocket walk around in a daze, not entirely sure of how they got there, but not all that disturbed about their circumstances either.
And therein lies the charm of the film. These people fall in and out of a life of crime, as if such a decision were of no more import than whether or not to go out for the track team. They are (mostly) blissfully ignorant. Even when things go tragically awry, they can find the upside - not so much as a coping mechanism, but merely since they have no other viewpoint of the world. Are these the blissfully ignorant, or merely the natural result of too many life-affirming aphorisms in childhood?
So, yes, the characters are great, but what about the story? It meanders a bit, just like the characters, but supports them, and helps to reveal what they really want, to them as well as the audience. Aside from mentioning moment after moment that I loved, I'll just say you have to see it for yourself.
This is the film that brought writer/director Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers - Owen (who co-wrote) and Luke - to the attention of Hollywood. Each appear to be on their way to interesting careers. We can see the same qualities here as in their later work. They seem to share this simple, honest approach to their craft that somehow ends up effortlessly effective.
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