Last Wednesday, the Philadelphia Film Society held a preview screening of Moonrise Kingdom,the ninth film of acclaimed director, Wes Anderson. The latest installment from the director that brought us The Royal Tennenbaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox, traces two committed youngsters, Sam and Suzy on their adventure to run awayfrom their misunderstood lives, so they can be hidden away from the rest of the world on the small, rocky Rhode Island beach cove they have named together, Moonrise Kingdom.
Anderson has presented us with a new, fresh style of narrative—full of maps, topography, telegrams, survival and adventure–while enforcing his usual tropes of dark witty humor, very emotional, introverted dialogue,and picturesque landscapes. As though Anderson has written a great book of fiction, the film takes place on an island with no paved roads, full of mystical tribal history, and the film is climaxed by a hyperbolic storm that wipes out the entire beach village. The Rhode Island landscapes are gorgeous,something like a series of travel postcards. The scenery feels like still photos, where the cinematic life comes through by the brilliant acting on top of the image. The film offers up a star-studded cast, from Bill Murray,Bruce Willis, and Ed Norton, down to the fresh young faces of Sam and Suzy,played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who both offer endearing, bright, and passionate performances.
Anderson has turned the world on its head. He has made the world of youth, most specifically the world of Sam and Suzy as the one of sound reasoning and logic. Sam knows how to build an immaculate campsite and Suzy has picked up enough great lessons on survival from her favorite books,all about magical Odysseys. The other world is the one of adults, of unsoundlogic, where parents cheat, Boy Scout masters continuously lose their scouts,and foster parents think it is okay to deny their foster children back into their home without a reason. Anderson wants us to find safety for Sam and Suzy, but maybe they are safer hidden away from the adults, where the two of them can revel in their deep passion for journey, escape, adventure, and most importantly each other.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Anderson and Roman Coppola
Featuring Bruce Willis as Captain Sharp,Edward Norton as Scout Master Ward, Bill Murray as Mr. Bishop, FrancesMcDormand as Mrs. Bishop, Tilda Swinton as Social Services, Jared Gilman asSam, Kara Hayward as Suzy, Jason Schwartzman as Cousin Ben, and Bob Bolaban as narrator.
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