Bitesize Review: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson.

CAST: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban.

SYNOPSIS: When Sam (Gilman) abandons the Khaki Scouts and Suzy (Hayward) runs away from home, the pair embark on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

My broken arm calls for a slightly different (and bitesize) reviewing format. So here’s ten things I want to say about Moonrise Kingdom:

1. The grandeur of the opening titles once again gives the impression of a play that is about to unfold before us. It also cements the fact that I must use that glorious font on my wedding invitations.

2. Hinting at discontent and even slight negligence from the parents (Murray and McDormand), the opening set to Benjamin Britten is grandiose and wonderful, introducing us to a slightly alien – yet tangible – world. It also reacquaints us with Anderson’s somewhat unconventional camera style.

3. Unsurprisingly, the film is shot beautifully, submersing you in the 1960s surroundings and providing some very colourful and symmetrical postcard perfect shots.

4. Though it may feel that Murray, Willis, Swinton and McDormand are barely there, they function effortlessly within Anderson and Coppola’s world, making it appear a natural continuation of his work.

5. Norton is deliciously hopeless and his Scout Master longs to be paired up with Owen Wilson.

6. Where some may feel the child actors struggle a little with the dialogue, I found it endearing. It makes the way they act appear as a projection of how they view themselves – more wise and intelligent than they really are. The children involved are wholly committed and some of the scenes involving the Khaki Scouts are equally hilarious and impressive.

7. Although Sam and Suzy have run away, naivety is a big part of the film, creating an interesting contrast with how they act beyond their years. While dancing on the beach to French music (well, starting seriously and then breaking out with some childish shapes), Sam is not even fully aware what a French kiss is.

8. Bob Balaban pops up throughout as The Narrator and while it’s not exactly certain what part he plays in all this, he is a welcome delight that serves as our guide to the local area while bringing an extra dash of Anderson quirk.

9. Moonrise Kingdom ends up becoming almost labyrinthine in style as it works towards its close, with the pursuit of Sam and Suzy getting more desperate. While some may find it silly, I believe the film gets progressively better as you are dragged along on the madcap hunt.

10. The most beautiful in joke and cliquey private party I have probably ever seen, Anderson does not compromise for those who do not appreciate his signature style. And that’s a very special thing.


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