Friday, June 22, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom: Movie Review


Young, yellow love finding happiness in the world of Wes Anderson.

Like all Wes Anderson films, “Moonrise Kingdom” has its own specific colour palette. This time it’s yellow. Yellow can symbolize wisdom, joy and happiness but also the conflicting traits of cowardice, loneliness and deceit. All of which can be found in the characters that inhabit this world. “Moonrise Kingdom” takes place in the 1960s on a remote island of New England, but I’m pretty sure it’s set in a time and place that doesn’t exist and never has. 2012

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Screenplay by: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Haywood, and Bruce Willis

The opening, establishing shots were quick and strange making sure that you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. Beautiful American homes standing alone on rocky cliffs and a handful of characters looking alone and out of place. But of course during this time I was focusing on the opening credits and discovered a delightful mix of actors.

Edward Norton (whom we welcome back to the quirky comedy genre) plays the Scout Master Ward of a small group of boy Khaki Scouts, dressed of course in khaki. The movie starts when he discovers that one such boy has zipped his tent up from the inside and escaped through a hole covered up by a map. Sam, we discover, was a troubled kid, disliked by everybody. When his foster father is informed of the incident, he informs us that Sam is not welcome back home, at this time.

Norton instructs the Khaki Scouts to find Sam and bring him back. But these boys are armed and dangerous. Carrying guns, knives, clubs and axes, they don’t like Sam. Norton also calls the local police captain, Bruce Willis (whom we enthusiastically welcome to quirky comedy genre). At around this time, Bill Murray (of course) and Frances McDormand discover that their daughter Suzy is also missing. Suzy discovered a pamphlet on “Coping with the very troubled child” that her parents put on top of the refrigerator, and she has run away.

This is when this clever, comedic and quirky film really came into its own for me. We have a pair of smart, troubled, independent and lonely preadolescents on the run together. And the genre that “Moonrise Kingdom” belongs to finally became clear: it’s a simple, coming-of-age comedy about puppy love. As unnatural as everything seems at times, all the while being set in nature, Anderson’s depiction of preadolescent love was the most realistic interpretation I have ever seen.

Sam and Suzy are played by Kara Haywood and Jared Gilman (reverse respectively) making their feature film and Wes Anderson film debuts. And they couldn’t have been better, fitting right into the eccentric landscape. An almost unstoppable duo, Sam and Suzy send the local inhabitants on even more search parties and disastrous adventures determined to find a place where they and everyone around them can find happiness. “Moonrise Kingdom” is that place with remarkable stylistic imagery.


Damsels in Distress (2011) - Romance, depression and intellect set to an up-tempo dance beat.