Moonrise Kingdom

We here at qmunicate were so excited to hear about Wes Anderson’s 9th film that we decided to give you two reviews. There’s Paddy on the left and Kerr on the right (Their positions don’t reflect their politics). 

Wes Anderson has always been a director who in my eyes has done something that a lot of modern directors have failed to do. Like past greats such as Alfred Hitchcock (and to a certain extent Woody Allen), Anderson has created a style of writing and direction that is unforgettable and vibrantly distinguishable from many others in his field. In other words Anderson has developed a sophisticated cinematic style that is consistent from film to film, with very few exceptions. The one exception that I can refer to is ‘Darjeeling Limited’ (2007) and this is an interesting point to start exploring his new offering; ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. An integral part of Anderson’s aforementioned cinematic style is the expansion and exploration of the seemly mundane through vibrant color and visual subtleties. In Anderson’s films the regular and straightforward is transformed into something of visual beauty. The problem with Darjeeling was that the film’s backdrop was already wonderfully stunning and did not need to be transformed. Thus we were presented with a movie that conflicted the visually and naturally sublime with Anderson’s personal paintbrush technique. The films exposure to the outside world seemed to dent Anderson’s illusion. However, Moonrise Kingdom is a film that has learnt a lot from its predecessors and to be perfectly blunt; it is fantastic.Moonrise Kingdom is a classic love story set off the coast of New England in the 1960s. The film shows a young boy and a girl running away from their problems in an attempt to be together. The story is dictated by a flow of diverse pop music, which is another one of Anderson’s trademark techniques and runs through the films core like a backbone. When the girl’s family and the boys scouting troop find out about the missing duo an island-to-island search begins and forms the basis of the movie. What makes this film so enjoyable is not a complex plot or spectacular dialogue but the characters that Anderson has created, and which he has left alone to thrive in their environment. A crucial part of this success is the actors who play the intricate roles within the film. Edward Norton and Bruce Willis steal the show but they do so in an unusual way and without their stereotypical amount of blood loss. The characters both Willis and Norton play – a lonely police officer and an ineffective scout leader – are downbeat, unhappy and often incompetent. The reason they are so effective is that when put to the test both Willis and Norton are pretty good at what they do for a living. It is a breath of fresh air to see the pair exploring a different element to their trade. The film continues at a wonderfully slow pace and it is essentially comprised of little moments that combine together to create a wonderfully colorful piece of art. By the end of the film it is important that the children are happy and it is vital that all the lose ends are tied up but it is more the overall spectacle that you will remember, rather than the story.What is very striking about the way Moonrise kingdom is shot is the omnipresent view given to the audience. As the camera moves smoothly from shot to shot, room-to-room and world-to-world we are allowed to explore every element of Anderson’s world in a smooth transient way that is at times breathtaking. There is so much to say about Moonrise Kingdom and in a film where so little really happens this is quite an impressive feat. Wes Anderson has done what he does best and created a world of subtext and moments of exquisite poignancy in the backdrop of a vivid colorful world and an effective cast. This film is a must see.

[Paddy Hughes]

  I cannot begin to describe how much I enjoyed this film. When I was younger I saw ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ in the cinema. At the time I thought I enjoyed it but now looking back I doubt I fully comprehended it. Wes Anderson is a somewhat unique director managing mainstream popularity with very quirky and non-standard story telling. Well I say mainstream but I mean he can get incredible budgets but won’t pull in massive box office success. I think it’s a very positive sign that such a clever storyteller will consistently get both studio support and an incredible line up of actors without the necessary box office success. Now this movie is not a sudden change of pace for the director so if you didn’t like him before don’t expect this to be any different. However fans of Anderson will be more than pleased with this film. Never has a trailer so perfectly summed up a film for me without giving too much away and intriguing me. The story revolves around a preteen couple as they run away together on a small island with a storm foreboded in the early scenes of the film. As with any Anderson movie every character is essentially insane or depressed or both but every part is so well played, even by the really young inexperienced kids, that you feel for them. The characters are so well developed that I believed their love more than any romcom I can think of. Very few directors could use rose tinting during a scene and not only can Anderson get away with it, he can make it work. The rest of cast excels as well, long time collaborators Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman show why they have the Anderson charm but newcomers Bruce Willis and Edward Norton show the other side to them that we rarely get to see. Then we have a soundtrack that totally rings true with the film and is just icing on the cake. This film will make you smile at all the quirks the film has to offer and have some genuine laughs in there while focussing on the issues at hand. There was a quote in the film which I believe may be a metaphor for the film itself, “That could be a poem, poems don’t always have to rhyme you know, they just have to be artistic” And Andersons nonstandard storytelling is exactly that. I cannot praise this film enough. Sadly it’s unlikely to still be in the cinema when this review reaches you since Wes films rarely have long runs but if you get the chance to see this do, especially if it’s the cinema because you really need to appreciate every second of it. In a year that Avengers finally got released this is my favourite film so far.

[Kerr Stevenson]

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