Saturday, December 22, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom


Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson's new comic coming-of-age story (co-written with Roman Coppola). I was very pleasantly surprised by the film. Anderson has been hit-or-miss for me, with Fantastic Mr. Fox and Bottle Rocket as highlights, and Aquatic Life as an absolute low-light. I have mixed feelings about Tennenbaums, it's overrated in my opinion.

Probably the biggest valid complaint I hear about his movies, even the good ones, is that his characters tend to be caricatures and not well fleshed out. However, in a 90-minute comedy, I think it's OK that peripheral characters are somewhat cardboard. The important thing in this film is that the two main characters, two outcast 12 year-olds, have a believable love story. It's been a long time since I saw a child's love story presented so honestly on the screen (in spite of the fact that much of the film is farcical). And as my wife pointed out, kids tend to see adults as archetypes rather than individuals.

It is a bit unsatisfying that several big names are virtually unused in their parts. Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and even narrator Bob Balaban barely get screen time to justify their parts. The one adult who really brings a lot to his character is Bruce Willis, who tends to be at his best when giving subdued performances like this one. Ed Norton is perhaps a little too restrained throughout the film.

Also great use of music by Alexandre Desplat (and Benjamin Britten).

Nonetheless, this is one of the best films of the year that I have seen so far.
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