<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban.
Wow this film has gotten good rating and reviews. That’s mostly because of Wes Anderson’s awesome direction and camera technique. Also, the look and feel of the film is amazing. But somehow I felt it was a tad contrived and didn’t really make me go ‘aww’ or ‘wow’.
Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Rushmore) takes us back in time to a New England island in 1965. Here we find the Bishop family ensconced in a life of routine with their three sons and one missing daughter called Suzy (Kara Hayward). The mother (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with the island’s sole police officer Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) while her husband (Bill Murray) goes about his mundane life. On the other side of the island Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) is dealing with an AWOL scout called Sam (Jared Gilman) who is an orphan. The Bishops and Ward soon realise that Sam and Suzy have decided to ‘elope’ since they’ve fallen madly in love with each other.
And so the hunt begins as they enlist the help of Captain Sharp and the boy scouts to track down the juvenile lovers. But the two are quite a handful and manage to outsmart the nimble minded islanders.
What Moonrise Kingdom tries to do is take you back in time to a simpler place where the joys of reading or listening to a toy record player were sufficient and satisfying past times. Where young love was truly innocent and without pretense or games. Jared Gilman as the awkward and geeky Sam is a rare find. His intellect and gawky ways complement Suzy’s pretty and perfect demeanour. Why would she fall for him, you may ask? But then isn’t that what love’s about.
This film reminded me of a movie called A Christmas Story about a little boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas. Maybe it’s the little boy or the simple tale, I don’t know but it’s worth a watch.
Moonrise Kingdom, with all its charm, seems a bit forced though. Like they’re trying really hard to bring all that eccentric quirkiness to it. It’s not natural or real. The characters are caricatures including Tilda Swinton’s ‘Social Services’. Also, the film is a bit slow and well not really exciting. It is simply the wonderful camera work, colourful sets and talented actors that keep you interested. In my opinion Bill Murray was wasted in the film. But then of course you have to give credit to the young Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. They’ve done a brilliant job.
You’ll like Moonrise Kingdom, I’m sure, but if you look deeper you’ll see it has all the eccentricity and the nostalgic look and feel but lacks a bit of soul.