REVIEW: Moonrise Kingdom

You could look at Moonrise Kingdom and think to yourself that it is another one of Wes Anderson’s eccentric but simple stories in a dream-like setting. In addition, it can quite easily fool a lot of viewers by giving this cute, colourful and perhaps somewhat innocent touch to it. Indeed, Anderson gives the film a very glistening and shiny tone, especially the cinematography, it is a charmer and he does take you on another one of his unorthodox adventures. However, at the same time, he goes to new depths and creates a very emotional film with a thought-provoking message about love and family.

Like many great directors, Wes Anderson has his own visionary style but unfortunately, it is not widely recognized or entirely appreciated. If anyone can direct and write a film with that approach but transform it into a rather adult-minded feature, it is Anderson. At times, Moonrise Kingdom had the capability of balancing the cute and enlightening atmosphere of a traditional live-action family film (or even a cartoon-ish feature) with incredibly personal and psychologically uncomfortable dialogue. Anderson and Roman Coppola’s creativity with the script had ultimately paid off. Together, they unusually, but at the same time, remarkably altered the innocence of young children into behaving like fully-grown adults without it becoming offensive or misleading.

For the roles of the two young lovers, Anderson could have typically cast popular and experienced child actors from the likes Chloe Grace Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Asa Butterfield or Elle Fanning. Instead, he selected a duo of newbies who were both making their on-screen debut. First, there’s Jared Gilman in the role of emotionally-disturbed, sensitive 12-year-old orphan Sam Shakusky and Kara Hayward as Suzy Bishop, a young girl who lives with her three brothers and two estranged parents. Anderson toys with the relationship between Sam and Suzy. He, of course, establishes a very cute connection between the two, but goes as far as to almost expose a sexual and rather forward relationship. This, however, doesn’t go beyond any horrific boundaries. It’s not vulgar, offensive or awkward to watch. It is somewhat natural and at times, humorous. Therefore, Anderson expressed a true notion that even kids can become attached to one another.

Among the two youngsters making their debut are a much more sophisticated and talented group of actors. In fact, all of the performers in the supporting roles make it as an impressive ensemble cast. Edward Norton portrayed Scout Master Randy Ward in a rather natural role with a very simple-minded and warm-hearted nature. Even Bruce Willis, a regular badass action hero, as the local sheriff Captain Sharp was a very simple and emotionally convincing addition to the cast, which added more warmth but at the same time, unorthodox touch to the film. Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzmann make solid appearances too. Within the supporting cast, the hats go off to Bill Murray, who marks his sixth collaboration with Wes Anderson, in the role of Walt Bishop, Suzy’s dominant father. He is the key source of the small amount of laugh-out-loud humour that we get in Moonrise Kingdom and is, as always, a delight to watch.

Moonrise Kingdom is not your vintage laugh-out-loud funny that will crack up the audience, but it still contains key elements of dark humour in relation to the Coen Brothers. There is always something about Anderson’s work that makes his films in one way or another feel a little off-colour compared to regular Hollywood features. In the case of Moonrise Kingdom, it’s a film that’s not about money and the director simple uses his own specific, original style of production. Therefore, Anderson really is one director on his own. Moonrise Kingdom is a genuinely creative feature for the eyes and for the ears that will leave you grinning from start to finish.


~ by SJMJ91 on 13/10/2012.

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