Wes Anderson is one of those directors that isn’t enjoying a lot of fame amongst the mainstream public. He is however a well known and original director amongst the cinematic die-hards and his latest outing ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ has all the ingredients that we have grown to know and love over the last 15 years.
With a cast that comprises the likes of Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand amongst newcomers Kara Hayward (Suzy) and Jared Gilman (Sam) who play the couple of young lovers fleeing away from home, we can’t fault the talent involved.
Moonrise Kingdom could be viewed as Wes Anderson’s take on Stand By Me and is a real throwback to eighties cinema. Basically revolving around a couple of kids who fall in love and run away, Wes manages to elevate that tried and true story by brilliant camera movement, wonderful sets and costumes and an allround sense of wonder. This may sound like a marketing slur, but it is indeed one of his more refined works since ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’.
The rest of the cast mentioned earlier is worth going through; Bill Murray and Frances McDormand play the parents of Suzy, respectively called Walt and Laura, Edward Norton plays Scout Master Ward, the leader of the scouts that Sam is a member of, Bruce Willis is the local officer Captain Sharp and we get a short stint from Tilda Swinton as ‘Social Services’, that’s right, she doesn’t get named as anything else but Social Services. Narrating this story is the always great Bob Balaban (see picture on the right) as ‘Narrator’.
To round of the story, Suzy and Sam (who we find out early on, is an orphan) decide to run away together in a rural New England town circa 1965. Soon after the parents find out that their daughter ran away they enlist the help of Captain Sharp. Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, Scout Master Ward finds out that one of his khaki scouts, Sam, is missing, and sets up his own search party.
I should jus leave it at that for you guys, there are lots of nuances and clever turns away from the story to make it a very layered and fulfilling experience.
If Wes Anderson could be faulted for one thing, it’s that he sometimes grossly neglects some of the talent involved. Bill Murray is basically in it for 6 minutes max, and to me, that’s never enough for Murray.
Harvey Keitel is in it at some point as well, for no more then 90 seconds. And while movies like Glengarry Glen Ross showed us that a walk-on role can work out brilliantly (Alec Baldwin anyone?) it doesn’t do wonders for Moonrise Kingdom.
As it stands, this movie is well worth revisiting several times, for it’s clever usage of every component that makes a movie great. Whether it’s the music, the acting, the cinematography or the story being told, all has been handled so very well by Wes.
Ofcourse, in a world where Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen can rake in millions of dollars, Moonrise Kingdom has been in and out of theatres faster then Sam and Suzy’s adventures last.
Hopefully people will take a chance on this and try it out for themselves, if you love a good movie, you kind of owe it to yourself.