A sequence, by its nature, implies some sort of emotional continuity, but Anderson, gathering his one- and two-shot episodes into a skein, has never been a dramatic filmmaker-tension, rage, ego, lust interest him only as cinematic and actorly conventions that he can play with. His style is half facetious, half satirical, although we may not be sure what the movies are satires of . “The Royal Tenenbaums,” a mock family saga, was so vague in meaning that one could enjoy it only by hanging on to Gene Hackman’s obvious pleasure in playing the vicious Royal. “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” taunted a greedy deepwater documentary filmmaker. But how many in Anderson’s audience had any idea who Jacques Cousteau was? Anderson’s spoofs may have no particular referent, yet the air of calculated absurdity and knowing one-upmanship makes his work cool for some people.
David Denby, “Lost Time”, The New Yorker (10 March 2014), 78.