Big Screen Review :: Moonrise Kingdom
September 3rd 2012
It feels like Wes Anderson has been building to Moonrise Kingdom for a while now. You can find pieces of everything he has done in the plot and themes, and all the stylistic quirks that he has been cultivating are concentrated here. It’s like concentrated Anderson, and for me, it felt like the first time his work completely came together. That the style, and the story and the script and the cast are in sync. The result is easily his best film as far as I am concerned.
It’s the story of Suzy and Sam, who are 12 years old and live on the fictional, almost mythical island of New Penznace in 1965. Sam’s an Orphan and an outcast, Suzie’s parents have pamphlets with titles like ‘Coping with the very troubled child’, so obviously they are madly in love and run away together. The adult cast, which includes Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Harvey Kietel and of course Bill Murray are in hot pursuit, and while the film is very much about the kids, Anderson is careful to sketch interesting and weird arcs for his adults. Except Swinton, who plays a flamboyantly costumed bureaucrat apparently called ‘Human Services’.
Anderson is the complete auteur, in control of every corner of the frame, and every nuance of the each performance. It feels like he made every cut, and composed every piece of music, even though you know that that is not the case. The movie is beautifully photographed with mustard yellow seeking through the image like an old photo. It’s sweet and gentle. It’s like the movie can’t think of a single good reason why a couple of disturbed 12 year olds shouldn’t get married and live on the beach and is cheering for them at every turn, which makes it easy for the audience to do the same. At the same time, all the adults are weird and stupid and messy, but the movie loves them too. Except Human Services, no one likes her. I had such a good time with this movie. It is funny and stupid, but warm and ultimately even moving. I can’t think of a better way to spend 90 minutes.