This Moonrise Kingdom review marks the start of a new series I'll be starting on the Film Vertigo blog. The first week of every month I'll be reviewing one of my favourite movies of all time, in hope to just share and express my love for these movies. If you happen to have seen any of them feel free to leave what you thought of the movies in the comments below and maybe recommend a few of your own favourites for me and others to watch.
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Stars: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward,
Wes Anderson by now is one of most recognised directors out there, with his most recent masterpiece The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) that established him as a bigger director rather than his previous indie style features. Moonrise Kingdom however in my opinion, is his greatest work yet.
Moonrise Kingdom's story is centred around a young member scout named Sam (Jared Gilman), who has decided to run away with a young girl he's fallen in love with, Kate (Kara Hayward) and live in the wilderness of a small island named New Penzance. You may look at the plot and think that you've seen it all before, but how the story is told and developed on screen is what makes this movie perfect. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola have created this fantastical and mystical world that seems to take you further and further into it with every shot. The island of which it's set in, is explained so humorously during the opening sequence by a wilderness explorer, and successfully sets this witty and fantastical tone that flows through the entire film. The script is so expertly written, every piece of dialogue is so witty and heartfelt that really brings you to feel emotion and attachment to the movies main protagonists. The film plays on that old fantasy story that everyone dreams of at least once in their life, running away into the sunset with person you're in love with, but what Wes Anderson did with this concept was elevate it on a whole new emotional and fantastical level.
Visually Moonrise Kingdom is stunning. Wes Anderson has been known for his unique style of cinematography and this film truly does do his reputation justice. Each shot is like a painting, symmetry, gorgeous and warm lighting and these handcrafted practical sets that almost resemble a doll house, I know it sounds bizarre but you'll understand when you come to see the film. One scene in particular has one of my favourite long takes of all time, that introduces Edward Norton's hilarious and loveable character, which leads me on to my next point, the performances.
The cast like almost every Wes Anderson feature really does have some class A talent. One actor in particular, is one of the main reasons why this film is so intriguing to watch...Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis is fantastic, Moonrise Kingdom really does show what a great actor Bruce Willis is, or should I say remind, as nowadays it seems as though he just turns up to movie sets for the paycheque, but in Moonrise Kingdom you can tell he really cares about this role and he put a lot of effort into his role as the police officer. Edward Norton as always is fantastic, playing the role of the Scout Master which almost reminds me of one of my favourite characters of all time Dwight Schrute. What makes his performance so great is that he takes his role of Scout Master so seriously, which resinates a humorous atmosphere that leads me to feel sympathy for his character after hearing the news of Sam's disappearance and his passion to get him back. As for the young actor and young actress that play the couple of Sam and Kate, their talent seems limitless as they are sure to embark on their hollywood lives and soon enough feature in many future productions after being in Moonrise Kingdom. Jared Gilham and Kara Hayward convey a perfect image of young, pure and innocent love that really does warm your heart, as well as hope that they do in fact run away and live in their own little world and hide from the cruelty that lives in the real world.
The soundtrack by academy award winner Alexandre Desplat, reflects beautifully off of the innocent love concept that flows through the film. The music is really does resinate fantasy and innocence, and is so easy to listen to. It's as if the music takes on its own physical performance that really does emphasise how beautiful this film is.
Moonrise Kingdom is a love, comedy and adventure movie that is perfect to watch in every way. The performances really do show how much talent these actors/actresses have, the story is heartfelt and creates a whole new original style for a known concept, visually this is one of most attractive and best looking films out there and the writing is pure absolute genius. This film is a pinnacle of what modern filmmaking can do and be. This is a movie that I hold close to my heart and is one of my favourite movies of all time. Please, please go and see this film if you haven't already, and how Wes Anderson hasn't won an Oscar after being nominated 6 times is beyond me.