Sunday, July 01, 2012

"Moonrise Kingdom" (2012) - Movie Review

I always wonder on the thoughts of a first time Wes Anderson viewer would think of with no idea whatsoever of this man’s preceding works. Will they laugh or look in confusion of the world he creates and the views he presents, the songs he chooses, the camera he horizontally and vertically moves or simply the characters that you will not find anywhere else? He has without any doubt created his own genre and has stuck with it. One would think that this genre would die and get repetitive but oddly enough Anderson seems to strike the same chord and produce different sounds. “Moonrise Kingdom” is no different.

In the deadpan treatment of a serious issue, “Moonrise Kingdom” presents two kids falling in love in the tenderness of innocence. One is Sam (Jared Gilman) and the other is Suzy (Kara Hayward). Suzy’s residence is where the film opens which resembles the old fairy tale home that is both beautiful and creepy at the same time. Here she lives with her parents Walt Bishop (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand) and three of her brothers. Walt and Laura are lawyers and there is nothing much happening between them. Suzy is glued to her binoculars awaiting for someone and something to come closer.

We see Sam’s empty tent rather than himself when his Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) finds out in his regular chores that Sam is missing. All this are in a small island that conveniently sets out the odd land of the director. The characters in their oddity are human underneath. While for initial viewers it might appear presumptuous and even preposterous to these people wander around with nothing but quirkiness, there is a sense in presenting them like this. There is a deep sudden seriousness that emerges out of them that pricks you in the heart when you least expect.

Sam is an orphan we come to know and Suzy met him a year earlier in a dressing room with her Raven costume. The striking question he directs at her tells everything about the desire and affect Suzy made on him. They are in love. They begin to write which has culminated in both of them abandoning their supposed home and venture out in the wilderness in the hopes of being together. They meet at distance at the far of the screen and get into work. There is no awkwardness or rather they direct it towards their escape plan. They begin to work together, assemble things, share things and in doing so does something most couple of in love fail to do, to connect.

The supporting roles are by Bruce Willis as Island Police Captain Sharp with Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton as Social Services, Jason Schwartzman and a surprising Harvey Keitel in the midst of this. Bruce Willis and Edward Norton share the boy’s emotion as they seem to have grown up from him and confined to the needs of the social pressure even in the odd world of Wes Anderson. McDormand’s Laura and Sharp are in an affair which forms an emotional depression for Murray’s Walt. In the whole film, the most intimate Walt and Laura get are in their separate beds discussing their cases and finally their problems. Laura asks him to stop feeling for himself and Walt responds with a question and that just pierces through the brutality of the situation. 

“Moonrise Kingdom” is not as impressive as “Fantastic Mr. Fox” which I absolutely adored, loved, admired and was charmed. Wes Anderson’s navigation from PG to PG-13 has taken beautifully. The romance between these two demands great comparisons to best films in those category. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward show surprising maturity in handling Anderson’s weird presentation. They converse as kids but bring out their inner maturity sublimely. 

With his regular cinematographer Robert Yeoman, Anderson paints yellow and pink and bright brick red as he pleases. He navigates the camera to angles you are not used and yet very used to when it comes to his films. In his style it never becomes something one is trying hard rather than a way to accentuate his emotional presentation. Therein it never comes off phony or put up and becomes one and the same of any other great presentation. “Moonrise Kingdom” has all the bits and pieces of Anderson’s signature and weaves his childhood memories into it. 

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