Given its highly fanciful aura and bizarrely original storyline, Moonrise Kingdom is arguably the most charming and expressive film directed by Wes Anderson. This visually stunning picture casts an enchanting spell on the viewer, pulling him deep into the picturesque universe where even the seemingly insignificant events are the key to a happy ending. Wes Anderson applies the usual palette of extraordinarily vivid color compositions, making this eccentric rom-com drama look more like a dream-based sequence, explained by a highly creative child.
The viewer gets acquainted with the setting of the picture through a short yet insightful introduction made by an unidentified man in a quirky red hat (a homage to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou): this is the island of New Penzance, and the year is 1965. The film follows closely the adventures of two teenagers, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), as they embark on a journey, which might seem like a sort of a desired rebirth for them, but ultimately brings chaos into the lives of all the adults that take part in the story. The two main characters, deeply in love with each other, long for solitude, somewhere far away from all the real-life problems that made their lives truly miserable. Sam is a socially awkward, orphaned Khaki Scout, and Suzy is a depressed girl who strikes as a totally unemotional figure, but through her behavior it’s actually easy to register what goes on in her mind. Love is what brought them together some time ago, and love is what made them consider running away from homes as the means to fulfillment. Unfortunately, this drastic decision disturbed the idyllic society of New Penzance, causing an island-long search carried out by a bunch of radically unbalanced people. There’s Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), police captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Suzy’s parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) among others. In the midst of this ridiculous investigation, all the adults actually expose their own grand problems in the process. The dialogues between them are as sharp and angry, as they are actually sophisticated to say the least. What’s crucial to say about them is that a minor alteration of the daily routine uncovers their fears and hidden desires, ironically making look them even more childish than the younger characters in the film.
Wes Anderson made a great use of his well-known cast. Every actor has his or her specific role in the whole intrigue, but the greatness of those many performances can be really seen only when all of the characters come together. They’re like the smaller pieces of a bigger, wholehearted and whimsical puzzle.
By applying various camera techniques Wes Anderson gave some of the scenes in the picture a nifty stage play-esque touch. The atmosphere, the colors, the old-school filters, and the on- location shots, reveal the film’s strange, but somehow familiar, 60’s vibe.
There’s a lot of awkwardness in the film, but this is really what makes it so enjoyable and satisfying. Being a noteworthy addition to the comedy genre, Moonrise Kingdom aspires to be the most imaginative film of the year. Wes Anderson‘s stylish exploration of young love is a satisfying one, and apart from applying a lot of his typical quirk and whimsy, the director shows that he matured and put a lot of his own heart into the project.