Anderson excellence - Colm2305
If you're not a Wes Anderson fan don't waste your time, Moonrise Kingdom will not change your mind. It may be without Owen or Luke Wilson but this is still firmly set in Andersons quirky world of colourful palettes and erratic clothes all to the soundtrack of a battery powered portable vinyl player blasting out sixties French pop. It's charming and funny, colourful and interesting, and always surreal, with just enough emotion to involve us. It's cinema heaven for Anderson fans like me.
Set on a New England island in the sixties, twelve year old orphan Sam (Jared Gilman) absconds from his Khaki Scout Group in order to run away with pen pal Suzy (Kara Hayward) the troubled daughter of bickering lawyers the Bishops (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). Armed with excellent camp pitching skills and a suitcase full of books, Sam and Suzy set out to find an idyllic life but local law enforcer Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) are hot in pursuit to retrieve the runaways before a severe hurricane hits.
The story is as much fun as it sounds, with love blossoming between the two awkward kids and comradeship developing between the scout troop. It's a guilty pleasure watching a film that combines the adventures of childhood with a mature script and humour. Every scene is a joy to watch full of colour and imagination with Andersons usual attention to detail on display. It gets a bit too silly when Jason Schwartzman marries the young couple and some of the later scenes are hard to enjoy as much as the adventure that came before it but these are minor glitches in a great script. It's definitely Andersons most likeable film, with much more vulnerable characters on display than usual in place of his usual array of overconfident wise crackers. It's a slight step out of his comfort zone leaving behind his usual actors (well, bar Schwartzman and Murray) and giving the lead to complete newcomers, but it pays off.
Sometimes the young actors dialogue balances between quirky and dull, and often I found myself wondering whether this was brilliance or simple one note, but given the complexity and unusualness of what Anderson is trying to achieve this is to be expected and for the most part the kids on display look like their having a lot of fun and come off as likeable and interesting. The adults fare well too, Murray doing understated as Murray does best and Willis playing out of character pathetic to a tee. It's great to see Edward Norton back on screen too as the Scout Master delivering some of the films best lines. Tilda Swintons character gets very little to do and could have been omitted or left faceless. She disappears too easily at the end leaving us to wonder whether she was there at all.
Moonrise Kingdom is the kind of film that leaves you smiling and stays in your head for hours after. There are some very adult themes running through the film but even with the uncertain future for the characters it still leaves us hopeful.
Personally I think Wes Anderson needs to thread carefully. His films exist in a unique world that never varies across his films, sometimes feeling like spin offs of each other. Too much and filmgoers might get sick of it, and so might studios if the money isn't coming back in the box-office. Once every three years is as much Anderson as the world can handle, and if they continue to be as good as Moonrise Kingdom there is no fear of us getting tired of him.
Review published on the 01 June 2012 10:07
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