Saturday, 1 September 2012

Moonrise Kingdom Review

Since the mainstream release of Bottle Rocket (1996) sixteen years ago Wes Anderson has captured the hearts of film lovers everywhere with his clever, witty and quirky brand of filmmaking. Anderson practically embodies the definition of auteur and constantly wins his fans over with trademarks such as bright colour palettes, distinctive musical soundtracks, flawed characters and dry humour. It's easy to say that his latest release Moonrise Kingdom (2012) doesn't fall short of any classic Anderson traits and could easily please new and old fans alike.

The year is 1965, on a small island off the coast of North America two pre-teens, Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) fall in love and agree to run away from their respective 'homes' in order to be together. In the wake of their escape a search party including a troop of boy scouts and their leader, a husband and wife in a crumbling marriage, a Police Captain with a hidden agenda and Social Services soon set off to find them.

Moonrise Kingdom undoubtedly proves that Anderson hasn't lost his touch whatsoever. It clearly has a beautiful narrative, which like many of his other films, wouldn't work in any universe other than the Wes Anderson one. Instead of focusing on flawed adults the narrative brilliantly follows younger characters, who will undoubtably grow up to become standard Anderson-ite problematic adults, which is like a breath of fresh air. There's also no doubt that the film is by far the funniest that the writing duo that is Anderson and Roman Coppola have produced so far; from weapon wielding boy scouts to acts of shoe throwing, Moonrise Kingdom does more than enough to tickle funny bones.

Whereas his previous films are clearly aesthetically influenced by the 1960s, Anderson has gone all out in Moonrise Kingdom and actually created a film set in that decade. This will be a plus for many of his long time fans as it allows him to go all out with off the wall costumes, colour schemes and sets. The extreme eye for detail that he has when it comes to films is evident in the film. From the breathtaking vintage style costumes to the way that simple outdoor shots are made as detailed as decorated interior ones, thanks to Wes Anderson's classic style Moonrise Kingdom is definitely a 'pretty' film. The same can be said for the cinematography which is full on Anderson's signature sweeping pan shots and also has a few stylistic zooms that pay homage to the time honoured films of Satyajit Ray.

L-R: Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman).

There are no words to describe just how brilliant Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman truly are. As two unknown newcomers they could have easily crumbled under the pressure of acting as the protagonists of a film directed by such an established director but instead they rose to the challenge and held their own amongst the already established cast members, some of whom make up the legendary Wes Anderson alumnae. They easily slide into and understand the feel of the film and are masters of the blunt dialogue delivery that makes Anderson's films stand out.

The amazing supporting cast sees two of Anderson's most frequent collaborators Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman return alongside an impressive group of Hollywood masters; Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and France McDormand. Murray and Schwartzman return respectively for their sixth and fourth Anderson films, yet amazingly manage to avoid playing any of their previous characters which must be applauded. As with the younger leads Willis, Norton and McDormand fall into the world of Wes Anderson perfectly and they too deliver amazing performances. Last but not least the group of young male actors who made up the troop of Khaki Scouts deserve their share of praise for stealing the spotlight during several scenes with comic antics such as irresponsible tree house building.

Moonrise Kingdom is possibly Anderson's greatest film to date. From the brilliantly written script full of humour and wit to the aesthetic beauty this film is absolutely perfect and will surely recruit many new members to the Wes Anderson fan club.



  1. I've wanted to see this since it was released and your review makes it sound so amazing! I'll have to see it soon xx

  2. Abs ooh I absolutely fell in love with this films, I love Lara's character so much, I wish she was real so I could befriend her! Xx

    1. Don't know where abs came from, my iPads playing up, sorry! X


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