Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the latest Wes Anderson feature for quite some time now. Having never seen an Anderson film I decided to watch Darjeeling Limited a few nights before Moonrise and couldn’t stand it. I found it to be a very much ‘style over substance’ film with little to draw me in.
Moonrise however was a completely different ball game. I loved it from the get go. Anderson has a remarkable style with bright colours, quirky characters, dry humour sprinkled with hints of dark comedy. In Moonrise Kingdom all of these ingredients come together in just the right proportions, coupled with a great storyline that keeps one intrigued and charmed throughout.
The magic of Moonrise lies in the character performances and the stylised, nostalgic world of 1965 they find themselves in. Jared Gilman, plays 12 year old Sam, who escapes from Camp Ivanhoe scout camp where Scout Master Ward (Ed Norton) is in charge. Sam has arranged with Suzy (Kara Hayward) to meet him in the meadow near her house to runaway together. What transpires is a story of charming love and sincere devotion as the pair make a desperate attempt to evade the pursuing forces of Scout Master Ward, Law enforcement officer Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) as well as Suzy’s parents Walt and Laura Bishop.
Jared Gilman for me is the star of the show. His delivery of lines, body language and facial expressions are outstanding. He performs with brilliant subtlety and with the sincerity of a twelve year old that reasons far beyond his years. Ed Norton is another character that stands out with a performance that is far from what is normally seen of him. As Scout Master he is ultimately responsible for the disappearance of Sam under his watch and enlists the help of the other scouts to retrieve Sam before any harm befalls him.
Moonrise is typical Wes Anderson whereby the entire film is pieced together to create a desired emotion and feeling for the audience. The colours are warm and bright, reminiscent of a children’s storybook. The music is prominent and playful, enhancing the mood that nostalgic visuals create. I love how Anderson uses all aspects of the film to tell the story and create a mood. From the styling of the sets, the wardrobe of the characters, the script, colours, music and even the way the film is shot are all thought through and work together to create that typical Wes Anderson feel.
For what it is, Moonrise Kingdom is a great film that transports you into a nostalgic, playful and whimsical world of charm and childhood innocence. Even those that haven’t caught onto the cultish love for Wes Anderson will find Moonrise to be an delightfully charming film.
Characters and performances 8.5/10
Directing and Cinematography 8/10
Quality Rating 8/10
Entertainment Rating 8.5/10