Dir: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jarad Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances MacDormand.
Any director who has sparked a whole series of “What is Wes Anderson made…” videos on Youtube has to be doing something right. He has been producing his own oddball creations since his first feature, Bottle Rocket, back in 1996. With masterpieces such as Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums behind him, it’s always exciting when he releases a new film. Whilst he’s never made a bad film, his last couple of outings failed to live up to the genius which preceded them. Moonrise Kingdom has been rumoured to be a return to form, and thankfully it is.
Moonrise Kingdom takes place on an island off the coast of New England in the summer on 1965. When Sam (Gilman) disappears from Camp Ivanhoe to run away with Suzy (Hayward) it sparks a search headed by Captain Sharp (Willis) and Khaki Scout Master Ward (Norton). They employ all the means and resources at their disposal to locate the young lovers. The hunt, and the storm brewing off the coast, turns the peaceful island community upside down.
Moonrise Kingdom is, in a sense, an atypical Wes Anderson film; it carries his unique aesthetic. It does, however, mark a return to his more obscure and leftfield earlier films. Bill Murray features again, as he has in almost all of Anderson’s film. However, the star-studded cast takes a back seat to the two child stars. They are both superb in their roles and fit in well with the cast around them, carrying the film forward with boundless charm.
It is a joy to see Anderson back to his bonkers best, with a film that is not only intelligent, but charming, warm and vastly amusing. I sniggered a lot whilst watching Moonrise Kingdom: he takes so much care and attention over his sets, and it’s the little things which I derived so much pleasure from. Of the adult cast, both Norton and Willis provide wonderful performances with their eccentric characters gamely leading the chase. However, Harvey Keitel’s moustache steals the show; it is truly magnificent.
Moonrise Kingdom is a return to top form for Anderson. It’s a great film, full of beautiful cinematic moments, high jinx and first love.