- Director: Wes Anderson
- Genre: Comedy
- Cert: 12A
- Details: US / 94 mins
How much more Wes Anderson can this be, and the answer is none – none more Wes Anderson. If The Darjeeling Limited was Wes Anderson turned down a notch then Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson turned back up again – he's back and is making up for lost time. But like a kid hopped up on Smarties, you want to tell him to calm down or he'll do himself some damage. There are times here where Moonrise can be a bit too much.
Set in 1965 on the island of New Penzance, just off the coast of New England, the story concerns itself with foster kid Sam (Gillman) and 'trouble kid' Suzy (Hayward), two twelve-year-olds who run away together. Of course, you can't get far on an island and Suzy's mum (Frances McDormand) and dad (Bill Murray), along with local cop (Willis) and Sam's Scout Master (Norton) help out with the search…
You want Wes Anderson you get Wes Anderson. We have the OCD-inspired shots with inch perfect pans across his dollhouse sets. As usual, the characters, who are always aware there is a camera on them, are figures in varying poses, moved here and there by an unseen controller who has a fondness for the random. The over-complication of the run-in is present and correct and, typically, the kids act like adults and the adults act like kids. This is all fine and well – if you’re going to be a fan, like myself, you have to forgive some things. No one's perfect, right?
But then there's the Bill Murray problem. The Man is here and it's no cameo but apart from scene from the trailer where Murray, stripped to his waist, bottle of wine in one hand and an axe in the other, goes to find a tree to chop down, he's superfluous to requirements. That's unforgiveable – if you have Bill Murray, give him something to do. McDormand doesn't have anything to do either, speaking through a megaphone for no reason other than it's quirky to speak through a megaphone. Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel and Tilda Swinton pop by, say some things, and disappear again.
There is no denying the sweetness and if you're in the right mood it can be Moonrise's winning factor. Like Darjeeling, which I gave a so-so review to here back in 2007 but is slowly becoming a favourite (that might be because I'm one of three brothers who are approaching ‘that age’, however), there's a very human and loveable side that emerges despite Anderson's best efforts to quirk everything up. The love these two kids have for each other is Moonrise's beating heart, and when Anderson lets them go the comedy, and the romance, clicks.
Sometimes sweet, sometimes fun, there's unfortunately just not enough here despite Anderson working overtime.
Review by Gavin Burke | 16:13 | Friday 25th May 2012 | Movie Review
Wes Anderson continues to show that he's one of America's most distinctive directors with the charming Moonrise Kingdom. Recalling similar themes that run through his work like a golden thread (the outsider searching for his true identity, the role of families), Moonrise Kingdom focuses on two missing children and the resulting chaos that ensues. Loner Sam (Jared Gilman) runs away from his Scout camp and goes on an adventure into the wild with the troubled Suzy (Kara Hayward). Meanwhile, the local cop (a game Bruce Willis) contends with Suzy's oddball family and social services to find a solution. Setting the film in 1965 lends the film an air of hip nostalgia, a la French New Wave - but the overall feel of the film is distinctly classic Americana. There are many very funny moments, particularly revolving around the Scout camps. The two young leads acquit themselves well and hold your attention, as their well-drawn characters feel the first pangs of young love. It's very much a Wes Anderson film and if you've seen any of his other films then it's simply required viewing. Highly recommended.Posted 23:19 | Fri 25th May 2012
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