This piece below has been contributed to solosingaporean by fellow movie enthusiast, P.
Anderson’s most mature film to date, Moonrise Kingdom serves up a dose of French-like naïveté with equal parts of heady romanticism and a wariness of love.
All the times I have gone to see a Wes Anderson movie, I have always had the nagging feeling of being transported to a miniature Toyland. Whilst not necessarily bad, I always felt like I was watching the same type of movie. In that sense, Anderson has always been a very specific director, aiming for a certain whimsy and focusing his energies on sculpting a particular aesthetic that serves to divide audiences to this day because either one likes it, or one doesn’t. I have always been in the latter camp only because I feel that Anderson’s considerable talents are far more suited to the intricate stylings of the animated world (indeed, his career best achievement is still Fantastic Mr. Fox) only because I have always felt that his characters in past movies always seem to be not in tandem with reality. With this movie however, Anderson serves up realism in spades and then some.
The movie essentially revolves around a fur hat wearing khaki scout, Sam (a very Ron Swanson-esque Jared Gilman) and a music, book loving jaded hipster Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward who recalls Markéta Irglováin Once) and how their relationship and subsequent elopment fractures the respective communities they are a part of.
The movie zips by and at a brisk 94 minutes, it felt like a play more than a movie at times. The heavy dose of theatricality heaped upon the set pieces made the movie feel even more intimate. However, the at-first charming yellow filter that smacks suspiciously of Instagram, grew ingratiating by the second act. That said, the movie is extremely well edited and the score is marvelously adept in expressing what the movie wants the audience to feel. But where the movie works, is the acting. For me, the MVP of the movie was without a doubt, Bruce Willis, who plays Captain Sharp, a policeman responsible for finding the two runaways. He brings a machismo that saves the movie from becoming too precious; and his scenes with Gillman rank among the most touching in the movie. The two leads are capable though Hayward came across as a bit wooden at times. The rest of the cast give brilliant supporting turns with especial mention to Frances MacDormand and Edward Norton (as Suzy’s mother and Sam’s Scout leader respectively) who infuse their roles with reality, together with that Anderson whimsy, making their characters seem almost tragic. In fact, when Mrs. Bishop talks to her daughter about love, she makes it seem like a warning for her daughter not to follow in her footsteps, making it a stilted, tender moment that allows the audience to sympathise with her largely detestable character.
With humour, charm and wit, Moonrise Kingdom is Anderson’s most mature film to date (certainly ironic, given the dominant role that children play in this movie) as it takes love head-on and asks “Does age even matter in love?” (PK).
Credit to Hot Butter Review for the above image.