- Director:Wes Anderson
- Cast:Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis
- Release Date:August 30, 2012
- Running time:84 minutes
- Film Worth:$19.00
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It’s classic Wes Anderson in terms of theme and style, but it also proves to be the director’s most ambitious and beguiling work to date.
Wes Anderson’s films are often dismissed as “quirky” due to his childlike sense of whimsy, obsessive perfectionism, and highly particular taste in soundtrack music. Often neglected are his sense of sweeping cinematic grandeur, and the brittle emotion lurking at the centre of his comically ornate constructions. With classic Anderson themes of youthful alienation and escapism, and familiar collaborators (Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman), the rap on Moonrise Kingdom is that he’s now parodying himself – but in many ways, it’s the director’s most ambitious and bewitching work.
The story is set in 1965 in an isolated island community off the coast of New England. A precocious, crafty young orphan (Jared Gilman) runs away from his scout troop for a wilderness trek with his older, artsy, would-be girlfriend (Kara Hayward). They’re pursued by the officious but well-meaning troop leader (Edward Norton), the girl’s burnt-out lawyer parents (Murray and Frances McDormand), and the put-upon local lawman (Bruce Willis).
The pastiche of the era’s Americana is exquisite – each lovingly composed frame is so packed with colourful detail that it’s like an animated feature. And of course, it’s very funny. But Moonrise Kingdom also has the splendour and aching melancholy of classic American melodrama, from Welles to Sirk to Scorsese; and once again, Anderson inspires terrific, heartfelt performances amidst the absurd hijinks. The implosive turns by Murray and Willis, as two middle aged men crippled by regret who find themselves at odds, lend a fine weight to the farcical proceedings. The two young leads are superb; their scenes together are among the most tender and genuine in any film this year. Let the haters hate, but Anderson continues to build a distinctive filmography on par with any of his contemporaries.