Monday, October 1, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

It’s 1965, and young Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is looking for an adventure. Sam wants to experience something different, and he quickly loses interest in the lifestyle of a Khaki Scout, so he escapes the Scout summer camp. Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) is another disgruntled child, who decides to join Sam on his adventure, and together the two runaways explore the wilderness. But Sam and Suzy’s dream vacation might suffer a drastic setback. Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton) leads a search party of ambitious Khaki Scouts, and Suzy’s parents eventually join the group. Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) Bishop are determined to find their daughter, and with the help of a local police Captain named Sharp (Bruce Willis), the adults will do their best to prevent Sam's plans of an escape.

Wes Anderson is a master of his craft. His subtlety and eccentric style of directing transformed Moonrise Kingdom into an exceptional comedy. Anderson captured the innocence and care-free nature of a playful childhood, and his strange and quirky style of storytelling brought life to the summer adventure of the two main characters (Sam and Suzy).

Wes Anderson doesn’t make movies for just anybody. He has a niche style that won’t appeal to the masses, but Anderson is one of my favorite filmmakers and writers. When it comes to quality, Anderson’s consistency is something to admire, because I can’t remember watching a bad Wes Anderson film. Oh, and when it comes to choosing music for his films, Wes Anderson is on his way to joining the ranks of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Moonrise Kingdom features an excellent soundtrack. Each song really fits within the context of every other scene, and Anderson has a great taste in music.

Anderson’s directing was marvelous, and this film features a great cast. The veteran actors delivered a nice set of enjoyable performances. Bill Murray is hilarious, and I loved Harvey Keitel‘s brief appearance. It was a pleasant surprise, but I was hoping to see more of him. Keitel is more than capable of delivering a show-stealing performance, and the teasing of limited screen time for his character drove me nuts. Bruce Willis was able to step out of his comfort zone as a tough guy. Captain Sharp was a vulnerable, normal guy, who was willing to lend a helping hand, and Willis really nailed this character. Outside of the Die Hard films, Bruce Willis is a pretty mediocre actor, but he really brought his A game to Moonrise Kingdom. I also wanted to see more of Tilda Swinton here. Swinton’s proper and precise performance as a social worker was a real treat to watch, and Swinton is one of the more talented actresses in Hollywood.

Willis’ character change felt refreshing, and the kids deserve a lot of credit. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward were very solid here, and they hit a nice comfort zone with their characters. Sam was a fearless oddball, who took chances, and the dangerous risks of the adventure didn’t phase him one bit. And Suzy was a silent and rebellious young girl, with some serious anger issues. Gilman and Hayward showcased true talent, and they were able to stand out amongst a cast of well known veteran actors and actresses; Truly an impressive accomplishment, when you stop and think about it.

Moonrise Kingdom features high quality acting, and a group of characters you can care about. The characters in Moonrise Kingdom are ordinary people, but their quirky and eccentric personalities provide an intriguing spark of life. The normal backstories couldn’t damage the characters in this film, and nobody reaches the level of an excruciating bore here.

Moonrise Kingdom is a superb, whimsical comedy, that showcases a joyous childhood adventure. The love story between Suzy and Sam provides a few tender and heartfelt moments, and the screenplay features a good amount of depth. You can really sense the importance of Sam and Suzy’s desperate attempt to cling to their childhoods, while savoring every moment.

Great acting, great directing, fantastic writing, and an excellent soundtrack. Moonrise Kingdom is one of 2012’s best films, and I loved every second of this one!

Final Rating: 10/10

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