Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wes Anderson is known for combining dry humor with flawed characters that become the hero of the melancholy story. His films are known for their cinematography and soundtracks featuring folk and early rock music. Wes Anderson frequently works with many of the same actors and in Moonrise Kingdom he doesn't deviate from his comfort zone by working with his writing partner Roman Copala along with actors Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman.
The film is about Sam (Jared Gilman), a 12 year old orphan, who runs away from Camp Ivanhoe where his Khaki Scout troupe 55 is preparing for the Great Khaki Scout Hullabaloo. Sam runs away with Suzy (Kara Hayward), the melancholy daughter of a local family (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). Together they plan to live happily ever after at mile 3.5 (better known as Moonrise Kingdom) of the ChickChaw Territory on the Island of New Penzance. Upon discovering the missing children a local search party led by the Police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), the Khaki Scoutmaster Randy Ward (Edward Norton), and Suzy's parents fan out to find them. Mayhem ensues. Social Services (Tilda Swinton) gets called in to bring order to the mayhem that has been created.
Moonrise Kingdom debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to amazing reviews and you can expect the attention to continue to grow for this film. The performances from the ensemble cast are excellent; going against type cast for some (Edward Norton) and with the type cast (Bruce Willis). Bill Murray and Francis McDormand portray a broken marriage with the brilliance we have come to expect by them. Harvey Keitel makes a small appearance as the Khaki Scout leader at the Hullabloo at the climax of the story. All the supporting characters have a purpose for being there. The actors deliver and the love story between two teenagers is at moments convincing and at moments funny. The best for me was the narrator Bob Balaban who comes into the story at the critical time.
This is a brilliant script, which is to be expected from Wes Anderson, and is an early nominee for best original screenplay. I cannot say enough positive things about this film without giving away the story any more than I have already discussed. If you are a Wes Anderson fan and have seen any of his other films (Rushmore-1998, The Royal Tenenbaums-2001, The Darjeeling Limited -2007, or Fantastic Mr. Fox-2009) you will enjoy Moonrise Kingdom. This is a 5 Quack film and also an early nominee for best film.