Bottle Rocket marks the beginning of significant careers in Hollywood for Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson, and Luke Wilson, all three of whom show tremendous promise in this film. There's very little of Anderson's signature production design flair, but that's to be expected. You can't wow people with production design when your budget is about $7 million. But still, there's signs of a coming genius, from the way Anderson frames certain shots to the nonsense dialogue that always has something to say under the surface. In the end, the film just doesn't know what it wants to be, and I think that's because at the time, neither did Wes Anderson or Owen Wilson. They were college kids with a camera. There's no way they had anything planned out.
Anthony (Luke Wilson) and Dignan (Owen Wilson) are longtime friends who like to commit small robberies. Anthony just got out of a voluntary mental hospital stay due to exhaustion, and he's looking to make a change. Dignan wants to be a big time thief, but he lacks the connections or skill to do so. When they rob a bookstore with their friend Bob (Musgrave), they go on the lam for a bit and Anthony falls in love with a motel maid named Inez (Cavazos). Dignan gets a little jealous and hooks up with his old gang, run by James Caan. Did not expect that.
From beginning to end, you can feel the hope behind Bottle Rocket. This hope would evolve into an award-winning career for Wes Anderson, who has become one of the most respected and innovative filmmakers in the industry. But the film drags through the middle, there's no comeuppance for the bad guy (if you can call James Caan that), and I was ultimately left unsatisfied. But I appreciate everything that came about because of this film.
Bottle Rocket is Wes Anderson’s first film and my personal favorite. Wes wrote the screenplay with Owen Wilson, who also stars as Dignan. Owen’s brothers, Luke and Andrew, also star in the film. It was a massive failure at the box office, but critics raved about its comedic timing and Martin Scorsese even put it into his Top 10 films of the 90’s list. Needless to say, Bottle Rocket launched Anderson’s career and is a cult classic today.
Luke Wilson plays Anthony and Owen Wilson plays Dignan, two best buds who have a knack for simple robberies. They bring their other friend, Bob, who is played by Robert Musgrave into the mix because he owns a car and a gun. Dignan has every step planned out for their lives and future robberies, but things don’t go exactly as planned, so they are forced to adapt.
Bottle Rocket is a wonderful introduction to a wonderful director. Wes immediately implemented his stylistic directing into Bottle Rocket and the Wilson brothers are simply unforgettable. The soundtrack by Mark Mothersbaugh is one of the best I’ve ever heard. Robert D. Yeoman served as the cinematographer, a common occurrence in Anderson’s films. They obviously have a fantastic chemistry and a clear vision when it comes to filming stuff. Bottle Rocket is an extremely fun ride to go on and you won’t be able to stop thinking about the ridiculous scenarios that these average men get into.