(directed by Wes Anderson, 2012)
****+ (out of 5)
* * *
> Wes Anderson does it again in this cheerful, beautifully colorful, light nostalgic comedy about two outcast kids and the adventure they embark on that shakes up the worlds of the adults in their lives.
A perfect little confection, MOONRISE KINGDOM is peppered with delightful performances from the likes of Frances McDormand as the brassy mom calling her children to dinner with a bullhorn, Bruce Willis as the sad sack island cop she is having a clandestine affair with, Edward Norton as the painfully earnest scout leader who goes from buffoon to hero, the wonderfully deadpan Bob Balaban [always a pleasure to watch] as an academic, watching and commenting on the action dispassionately, Tilda Swinton as the heinously unctuous child protection worker who seems to hate the children she is charged with protecting, a broadly comic Harvey Keitel as a kind of Teddy Roosevelt of scout leaders, and the indefatigable Brian Murray, who just keeps getting better and better with each performance. Everyone here is in top form.
. But this film belongs to the two wonderful kids in the central roles. I could not help but project myself into the smart, sensitive outcast boy who just didn’t feel that he fit in anywhere. At his tender age, I would have been just as smitten with his female counterpart- just as eager to set off on my own, away from the dysfunctional adult world that didn’t seem to include me. Their scenes play-acting domestic bliss while the adults in their lives frantically search for them are absolutely priceless.
. Again, Mr. Anderson uses his usual bag of tricks: evocative pop soundtrack, a methodical ever-moving camera employing long pans that establish the character’s relationships to their surroundings, slow motion shots of his characters walking with purpose, using a bold primary color palate. Again: these techniques work beautifully. I love all this guy’s films, from RUSHMORE to THE ROYAL TENEBAUMS to FANTASTIC MR. FOX to his underrated THE DARJEELING EXPRESS. Like Tim Burton, this director knows who he is and makes no apologies for it, making, warm, wonderful films full of bone-dry wit, that follow his own inner voice and celebrate life and the flawed but delightful people who inhabit it. A Wes Anderson film is a film to be celebrated.
> Loved it. See it!
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