'Moonrise Kingdom' Review By Julian Left
An eloquent example of vintage literature framed in a kubrickian style.
At first you might reason that Moonrise Kingdom is only about two kids doing kids stuff and that this film is getting exposure just because the story has a different shape and form from all the other similar movies. The fact is you wouldn't be that wrong but at the same time the movie is so mature and so well connected with the harsh reality of today's society even if the action in the film takes place in the 60s. You really get invested into this story of our main protagonist who is an orphan boy scout, and by his own will he decides to get away from the place that kept on making his life a military routine. You have a lot of elements in this film described beautifully and that add a lot to the journey and personality of our characters. In this film, being an orphan is not the same with eventually taking the wrong path in life and end up in big trouble. Here you have the evolution of an orphan becoming something that's better, that's free of dirt, free of inhibitions, ready to taste life no matter how dangerous or rusty it might be.
The cartoonish and childish aspect of this film is somehow a trademark of Anderson but here it works so well simply because it adds more to the soul of this film, making it a bit more pretentious but also more acceptable and emotional for the audience. The acting is just marvelous, elusively exaggerated on purpose. It's what completes this fantastical land. The recipe for this film that includes the wood-like setting, the thirsty narrative, and the technical seizure, is completed by the actors and their choices. Our two heroes, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), are so sweet and apparently vulnerable against the nature of things that it just feels that they're feeding from our compassion to add to their chemistry. Edward Norton as Scout Master Ward comes off as a ridiculous statue of righteousness while Bruce Willis as Captain Sharp is your regular lumpy sheriff. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as Walt and Laura Bishop, parents of our dear Suzy, are probably the most neurotic couples seen on screen. They are doomed to live into a self-glorified abyss of speaking trumpets and colored pyjamas. Their relationship is exactly the opposite of the one between Suzy and Sam. Other characters as the Social Services madame and Commander Pierce, both played by Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel in a gore fashion, stack up to this antithesis of all these characters.
This antithesis however is not only present between the characters alone. For example, the kubrickian framing and the angelic score is something that stands firmly against the actions in the film. Also the film as a whole is ephemeral, chaotic, fun, and even psychotic. The narrator however, this doc*mentarian played by Bob Balaban is everlasting (do to the nature of his work), organized, dull, and calm. He is the main balance in this film. He keeps pointing that what we're watching, what we're observing, is nothing more than a doc*mentary. A doc*mentary of what? That is left for us to discover.
Moonrise Kingdom is a very good film, worthy of a Best Picture nomination and probably even worthy of a modern masterpiece status. What I think is that Wes Anderson's work here could be very well described as an eloquent example of vintage literature.
Technical Execution: 9.3
Replay Value: 9.0