Wes Anderson never ceases to amaze me.
***** out of 5
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking
Article first published as Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom on Blogcritics.
The word quirky sure gets thrown around a lot when talking about director
Wes Anderson and his films, but at least the man sticks to his guns. If someone
were to be called quirky for the sake of being quirky it would be Jared Hess.
Even when attempting something new, ala “Fantastic
Mr. Fox,” Anderson has maintained his own voice ever since he gave us
all the way back in 1996. Since then there hasn’t been one true dud in his
resume. Some still call “The Darjeeling Limited” the closest he’s come to a misstep,
but even that is far better than most of what gets churned out in Hollywood
week after week. Now that he’s back to the land of live-action, “Moonrise Kingdom”
turns out to be another notch in his belt of greatness.
Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola (son of Francis Ford Coppola) bring
about the standard issue quirks but keep the storytelling front and center.
With his two young leads keeping the show their own, just about the only thing
that nearly outstages the screenplay is Adam Stockhausen’s production design.
One of Suzy’s favorite things is reading, so the whole movie feels like a
children’s book come to life. Granted, most children’s books don’t contain some
of the content Anderson
manages to skirt by with his PG-13 rating, but it never ventures too far into
the extreme. The film mostly plays out like a mashup of a prison escape/war
film. The finale is filmed in such a way as to appear black and white, sending
my appreciation for Anderson’s
visual choices through the roof. It will probably come as no surprise that Bill
Murray has the funniest line in the entire film. But fear not Anderson
lovers, “Moonrise Kingdom”
may be his most mainstream live-action film to date, but as expected, he’s also
delivered one of the year’s best films.
Photo courtesy Focus Features