Dir: Wes Anderson, US, 2012, 1 hr 24 mins. Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis
Heartfelt, deadpan-hilarious, and sweetly melancholy…
Review by Moving Image Team-member Sydney Bayley
Moonrise Kingdom is directed by Wes Anderson, who, if you have seen any of his other films, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr Fox or The Life Aquatic, you will know as a uniquely quirky and interesting director. His cinematography is simple but revealing. The beginning of Moonrise Kingdom has a camera swinging up and down and from side to side to introduce us to the house and the family who will feature in the film. It is like looking into a doll’s house with the front taken off. He uses primary colours and strong lighting and the people in his films behave in eccentric ways.
This is a love story between two misfit teenagers from dysfunctional homes and it is utterly charming. It is set in 1965 in the small town America of the New England coast, in what appears to be an innocent time of scout camps and portable record players. The film is really about how the older generation cope with these teenagers running away together and making their own life and how it reflects on them. There is lots of gentle comedy. Actors seem to want to work with Anderson and immerse themselves in his style so there are wonderful performances from the two young people and actors such as Bruce Murray, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton. However, I would single out Bruce Willis, giving a subtle and lovely performance as a lonely police officer, such as you will never have seen from him before; it is very far from action hero territory. Anderson always uses music as illustration and here the music of Benjamin Britten features and Noye’s Fludde plays a particularly significant role. I recommend it highly to you.