Moonrise Kingdom Movie Review

Anderson's films definitely aren't to everyone's taste, with his quirky approach to direction, character and and story structure. But this gently engaging adventure is his warmest, wittiest film since The Life Aquatic. It keeps us smiling all the way through.

Scout leader Ward (Norton) sends out a search party when preteen scout Sam (Gilman) runs away from the camp. He can't get far on this New England island, and it turns out that he has run off with Suzy (Hayward) daughter of a local couple (Murray and McDormand). As Sam and Suzy's naive love blossoms in the wilderness, local police Captain Sharp (Willis) takes over the search and calls in Social Services (Swinton). But these kids are more tenacious than anyone expects.

The film is shot in Anderson's trademark straight-on visual style, with intensely yellow costumes and settings and splashes of orange and rust.

Everything is so heightened that we can't quite believe any of it, even if the attitudes and feelings of the characters are extremely resonant, from the runaways' inability to understand the nature of their passion to Suzy's parents' inability to escape the distractions of their jobs as lawyers.

Cleverly, Anderson and his cast portray this young romance as something far more intense than anything the adults feel. Even McDormand's secretive affair with Willis feels stale, while Norton's overgrown scout is perhaps a little too keen to solve the problem even if he doesn't really seem to have his heart in it. Meanwhile, Gilman and Hayward give the overachieving Sam and the curious Suzy a realistic sense of youthful curiosity as their odyssey takes a few wild twists and turns.

All of this is assembled in a way that's so mannered and deliberately wacky that it may leave some audiences cold. But Anderson is stirring in gently emotional subtext while indulging in nutty slapstick and knowing cinema references. And as the film continues, he cleverly taps into the adventurous child within us. Even the rather silly appearances of Balaban's posing narrator have an underlying pathos. So by the end we're surprised how much we care about these rather exaggerated characters. Mainly because we can see ourselves in them.

Comments

Moonrise Kingdom Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 12, 2012

Advertisement

More Bruce Willis

Box Office: Sin City 2 Disappoints While Guardians Is Unstoppable

Three new releases for this weekend’s box couldn’t make their presence felt as Guardians of The Galaxy enjoyed another weekend atop the pile. Sin City...

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Movie Review

It's taken nearly 10 years for filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and graphic novelist Frank Miller to get around to making this sequel, but it was worth...

Bruce Willis Dresses Down Outside 'Letterman'

'A Good Day To Die Hard' star Bruce Willis stops briefly for the cameras as he arrives outside 'The Late Show with David Letterman' studios...

"Sin City" Stars Talk A Big Game Of Female Empowerment, But Will The Movie Deliver?

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For isn’t out until this coming Thursday, August 21, but promotion has been going on for months. Maybe you’ve...

Advertisement

Film Franchises That Go On Forever

The Hobbit trilogy has been criticised by some viewers for having too little content spread too thinly over the course of too many films. Originally,...

The Prince Trailer

Paul (Jason Patric) used to be a major figure in the Las Vegas crime world - known by his rivals as 'The Prince - before...

A Week In Movies: Snowpiercer Premieres In L.A., Dustin Hoffman Films In London, New Trailers Promise Sci-Fi, Black Comedy And Comic-Book Action

Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Alison Pill and John Cho were among the celebrities who turned out this week for the opening night of the Los...

Ava Lord Is The Dame To Kill For in The 'Sin City 2' Trailer [Trailer + Pictures]

Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for has a brand new trailer, featuring an extensive look at the predominantly black & white art-house, film-noir,...

Advertisement