As an American filmmaker with no particular pedigree (like the Coppolas or Hustons), Wes Anderson’s penchant for exclusiveness could have put him in a precarious position in the aggressively democratized world of Hollywood cinema. As it turns out, he occupies a not unenviable niche, probably because his brand of snobbishness has less to do with the banal quest for wealth and breeding than a fascination for twee eccentricities. Or more to the point, for people with the means to indulge these antics, as in the manner of that unobtrusive rich kid in college who didn’t have to work and could cut an entire semester to go on a dolphin- watching expedition, returning months later with a deep tan and clad in well-worn cashmere.

Anderson’s last film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” had been about just that kind of kid, grown to late middle age (played with spot-on brilliance by Bill Murray), enthralled by his own, boyish wanderlust, and undercut by a stylish disillusionment with life and equally stylish personal problems — usually to do with beautiful women.

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