Saturday, 18 August 2012

,

Moonrise Kingdom [Review]


Opinion: A-

Wes Anderson creates a magical realm of adolescence and adorability that does not abide by any rules except his own. Truly original in terms of style and narration, Anderson boldly showcases his mind of quirky ideas that revolve around a sense of bitter-sweet childhood that is led head-over-heels by pure emotions uncontaminated by corrupted maturity. Visually captivating and sensually enchanting, Moonrise Kingdom is arguably Anderson's best feature yet.


Moonrise Kingdom is the new movie directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore).

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two 12-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore – and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in every which way.

Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff, Captain Sharp. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader, Scout Master Ward. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Bob Balaban; and introduces Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as Sam and Suzy, the boy and girl.


Drawing an envy-luring cast ensemble of Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton, Wes Anderson does attract talents with his co-written screenplay material developed in conjunction with Roman Coppola. Despite the resourceful adult cast, Anderson knows that the true essence of the film will have to rely upon its pair of 12 year old protagonists. Thus allowing Sam and Suzy (new-face child actors Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward respectively) to lead the audience into a sanctuary that is (almost entirely) free of adulthood woes while the adults support the couple.

During a couple of scenes, we do witness moments of subdued anguist and cruel realities that the adults dabble in with the need to manage them (a failing marriage and an ambiguous affair). But not for Sam and Suzy, who are allowed free reign to follow their emotions relentlessly even though they may or may not know if they are objectively right or wrong. Just as per Sam's words "I love you Suzy, but you don't know what you're talking about".

But first love has never been friends with logic and objectivity.



Emotionally charged and depicted through the perspective of the pair of new lovers, they charmingly lead their own moments onscreen with such charisma and confidence. With a Khaki scout's skillset in outdoor survival and topography in Sam and the pop coloured eye-shadows on Suzy who readily whips out fantasy storybooks and her brother's record player, these are little adults with large childlike hearts within them. For a moment, the audience may find themselves forgetting the very fact that they are after all just 12 years old.

Attempts to bring the puppy love to the next level, Sam and Suzy enact a scene at the beach with a dance that is followed by an embrace, sensual touch, and tongue-flickering kiss. They perform these otherwise bashful acts of adult romance with certain obnoxity and dedication that it feels blissful rather than erotic.

It probably only exists within the realm created by Anderson, and it's a place some of us may desire to retire in someday.

Technical observation is kept in proximity to the look and feel of the 1960s as the film is set within, although the overal sense of affairs feels interestingly timeless in certain ways. There's a notable style of camera movement adopted that allows the visuals to flow like a classic fairytale storybook, which involves a strenous amount of pre-planning in subscription to Anderson's intended mise-en-scène. Adding in the amazing costume, hairdo, and makeup to further complement the art direction (by Gerald Sullivan) that is prominent in Moonrise Kingdom, the film presents the quirky narrative scenes with a distinctly likeable flavour.

Soundtrack by Benjamin Britton and Alexandre Desplat further subjects our senses to a soothing New England country lullaby that is rich in naive hope and love. Nothing can better conclude the film of youthful vigour, innocent passion, and tasteful humour, than the orchestra track playfully commented by Sam that plays during the end credit roll as a pleasant period mark.

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