We take a look at Wes Anderson’s latest film, which opens in Australia on August 30.
Moonrise Kingdom is a quirky, endearing tale set in 1960s small-town America. It’s centred on the story of two children who fall in love via pen-letters and decide to run away together, and the subsequent search their community launches to find them.
The filming, oddball characterisation and playful, left-of-centre indie storytelling is all very Wes Anderson – if you’re a fan of his other films, such as Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums or The Fantastic Mr. Fox, then you’ll love Moonrise Kingdom. If you’re not so much a fan, then you probably won’t like this latest offering, but you’ll be missing out on one of the year’s better movies.
Playing a range of eccentric characters in the film is a dream cast including Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis and Wes Anderson stalwart Bill Murray. Nevertheless, these veterans are all side-characters, and credit to Wes Andersron for not letting them overshadow the younger actors. The story is very much focused on the young runaways Sam and Suzy, played brilliantly by young actors Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, and their awkward yet heart-warming romance.
It’s beautifully filmed, with a classic Wes Anderson use of colour and a distinct hipster retro vibe. Its story is at once charming, poignant, funny and delightfully low-key – a welcome respite from the ‘bigger is better’ blockbuster movies that have been the money-spinners of 2012. The dialogue is witty and well delivered, and the soundtrack fits the visuals perfectly. It’s a film-lover’s film and definitely one of the best movies released so far this year.
It’s not without its issues, however. The ending feels a little disjointed, and the last third of the movie feels like it could have done with a little extra judicious editing, but these are fairly minor quibbles. This is a very original and heartfelt film, so if you’re looking for something a little different from the cookie-cutter Hollywood blockbuster, then Moonrise Kingdom is definitely worth checking out.