Moonrise Kingdom (Film Review)

Moonrise Kingdom is the new feature film by quirky auteur Wes Anderson and like all his other films it has his unique directorial stamp on it. For example if you were to play Anderson bingo using this film you’d be guaranteed a near full house – symmetrical framing, precocious children, retro styling and of course Bill Murray stars in it. All that’s missing is one the Wilson brothers, right?

The film tells the story of two children in the 1960s who decide to elope. Unfortunately this causes quite a stir in the little island village where they reside and the community try to locate them and put an end to their romance. What is a fairly unoriginal and dare I say uninspiring plot is then transformed into something wholly original and inspiring thanks to the magic of director Anderson. Anderson is a director whose influence can be seen in every tiny detail of the film, be it the editing, framing, music, casting, costume, the list is endless!  Anderson has such a striking mise-en-scene it almost distracts you from the plot itself. I strongly believe that if Anderson was to make a film about the life of a notorious criminal, the awful crimes that they had committed would then be forgotten due to  Anderson’s wonderful directorial flair (let us please hope he does not go in this direction though however…).

I have always been a fan of Anderson right from Bottle Rocket (1996) his debut feature. What made this film interesting is I attended the screening with a friend who loves both Bottle Rocket and Rushmore (1998), but hates all of the Anderson films that followed, yet he loved this flick. Now as big fan of Anderson myself I found this film rather weak in comparison to his others. A lot of the screwball humour was just a bit too surreal in my opinion, and it didn’t quite have the charm of some of Anderson’s other work’s which are notable for having lots of pathos. But then again this doesn’t make me dislike the film and if anything I’m pleased my friend finally appreciates Anderson once more, which I would like to take sole credit for purely because I attended the cinema with him!

The only major criticism I have of this film is one that I have of every Anderson film, the minor incidents of animal cruelty. For any members of Green Peace out there I wouldn’t recommend the film due to a rather distressing scene involving a dog. But luckily for Anderson I am not an animal rights activist and this doesn’t change my opinion. Overall Moonrise Kingdom is a lovely little film and it’s a shame it didn’t get a larger general release, it has all the hallmarks of an Anderson film, and if you’re a fan of his previous work then this is a film for you.

Jack Henison