Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Dir: Wes Anderson
The films of Wes Anderson are not to everyone’s taste… but I quite like them!
Sam is a 12 year-old boy at scout training camp, who decides that he’s had enough of not getting on with the other scouts and wants to be with the girl he met a year ago and has been writing to, Suzy. So, he escapes and the two of them run away together making full use of Sam’s survival skills. On the search for the young lovers however are Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), local cop (Bruce Willis) and all the scouts and their scout master (Edward Norton).
Straight away you can’t help but notice the film’s distinctive cinematography with a slightly aging but warm hue. The cinematography was done by Robert Yeoman who has worked with Wes Anderson on all of his films, and this consistency in style makes these films instantly recognisable. It is lovely in this case, like an Instagram filter almost, making everything feel slightly nostalgic in the way it looks and giving a lovely effect to all the exterior scenery especially.
Bob Balaban serves as an on-screen narrator who pops up in a few scenes, and his character sets up the location and time in a nicely quirky and understated way. This works in well with the very efficient storytelling, the film runs at a length of 94 minutes, and none is really wasted. We’re straight in with the story, there’s no setting it up before Sam’s brilliant escape and we’re on the search for the children in less than 15 minutes. At first the focus is on the search parties rather than the missing children, then we see more about them and how they met and came to this point of running away together. All of this is done with a quirky and unique style that I personally really enjoy.
One of the best parts is the scout troop. All the boys are given distinctive personalities, and they steal some of the best moments, a particularly funny one being when the embark on the search and decide that as Sam is a troubled child none of them should go unarmed.
There’s also some wonderful elements to the editing, with one particular cut to avoid showing someone getting stabbed with scissors, the scene is cut with a flash of an image of scissors on screen, then people running away.
The two young leads are excellent, and have been nominated for awards for their roles (results are still pending). The other actors work well in their roles too, it’s especially nice seeing Bruce Willis in a part that’s completely different from his usual action roles. Tilda Swinton has a small part too with a character who is brilliantly referred to as ‘Social Services’.
I thought the whole film was superb, through the story, cast, editing and also the music. It’s worth watching through the credits to the end as a lovely little homage is paid to the score. If you’ve never liked Wes Anderson’s films before, then this is probably not going to change your opinion, but if you did enjoy anything like ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ or Anderson’s films since then, you’ll probably find this a really beautiful and touching way to spend an hour and a half.