Today I watched Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Moonrise Kingdom continues Wes Anderson’s love of story artifice and mimics an old timey boy’s adventure book. Taking place on a small island community in the Sixties, the film follows Sam and Suzy, two disenfranchised yet precocious children who run away together. Sam’s scoutmaster, played by Edward Norton, is the first to know he is missing and he quickly calls up Bruce Willis as the island sheriff to head up a rescue. Unfortunatley the only man-power they are able to muster is the rest of the scout troupe, who happen to not like Same very much, which leads to a confrontation in which Suzy stabs the meanest scout with her scissors. While Sam is an orphan, Suzy’s parents are also getting involved in the rescue but it mostly exacerbates and complicates matters as the mother is having an affair with the sheriff. Things continue to get out of hand and child services is called, bringing up the threat of electro-shock therapy to escalate matters.
While the ensemble cast continue to portray typically damaged Anderson characters, the focus on children end their fantasies and dreams sets this film apart from much of his earlier work. it typifies one of Anderson’s most unique talents in his ability to take subject matter that is really rather dark and present it in a light, comedic, and bright manner. To this end he is one of the top masters of working visuals and narrative together into a seamless whole. Through this Anderson shows an optimistic side to life that is not ignorant of all the damage we sustain living it, the world can be a dark place but in it light can always be found and Anderson amplifies that illumination.
There is a dreamy tone, that of summertime adventure free from societal responsibility, that hangs over every inch of this movie; it is the remembrance of nostalgic times, not as they were but as we hold them in our memories. Of course it is a technically beautiful film as well, most if not all Anderson works tend to be, and again he uses that visual panache to enforce his themes and moods. He really embraces the totality of his projects and there is a sense of everything being right were it should be. uncannily so in most cases, and that elevates this work to the level of masterpiece. 5/5