Dir: Wes Anderson, 2012
1965: the summer of love for two twelve-year olds who elope to the woods of their New England island. And so begins a hectic chase led by the local sheriff, a boy scout master, worried parents and a squadron of unnaturally violent scouts.
Anderson’s five-year break from picturesque feature films that saw him depict a Roald Dahl classic via motion-capture has clearly sent the visionary artist into aesthetic withdrawal. Now, back on track, Anderson sets out to capture his most elegant and hearty feature yet.
Unfortunately, Wes Anderson’s desire to fool around with photography techniques stifles his stellar cast, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel having very little to contribute. The two adolescents in love are the melting heart of the film, with Edward Norton in tow as the hilariously inept camp leader and Bruce Willis playing, well, Bruce Willis.
It’s no surprise that Moonrise Kingdom presents itself similar to a stage play on a projector screen so keep in mind, Wes Anderson’s films are for Wes Anderson fans. Those fair-weather filmgoers who view his pieces with a tepid sense of enthusiasm may be weary of his steady-cam panning shots and his dollhouse sets. However, those with a light sense of humour and a passion for beautiful landscapes will find Moonrise Kingdom an absolute delight.
One of the biggest disadvantages of Anderson’s cherubic tale of young love is it feels a little rushed. Clocking in at 93 minutes, Moonrise Kingdom’s second act is so short it’s almost non-existent. A little more time to dwell on the relationship between newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward would’ve cemented the narrative and kept the story where it needed to be most.
Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t have intriguing characters as of the families Tenenbaum or Zissou and the storyline may not be his most original but what may be scant in story is made up for with style. Ultimately an experiment in directorial flair, Moonrise Kingdom will dazzle some and jade others. Opinions aside, without a doubt Wes Anderson’s most Wes Anderson film.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆