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Wonderful Little Film,
This review is from: Moonrise Kingdom [DVD]  (DVD)
Billed as Wes Anderson's return to live action film after a five year absence, Moonrise Kingdom has a starry (if slightly hip) cast and an interesting sounding story to tell. Anderson has a leftfield approach to cinema which nods towards the arty which has made him one of the more interesting and adventurous directors working in mainstream Hollywood cinema. What we get is a strange and touching portrait of first love against the odds.
Despite a big name cast the stars of this film are the two young leads, Kara Haywood and Jared Gilman, who play a couple of children who meet briefly one summer whilst Gilman's character is camping on the island where Haywood lives. One year on they plan to meet again running away to a remote part of the island to spend a week together. Upon this discovery the adults and the rest of the scout campers (who don't really like the boy) set off to find them. The story has a twist in that all are unaware of the fact that a severe storm is just 48 hours from hitting land and creating havoc.
This is a gently played film in which the adults all seem to have exaggerated personas which fits the idea that the film not only has child protagonists but also sees the rest of the world from their point of view. The effect is sometimes comic but it is charming throughout. It is a little disorientating but if you're prepared to let yourself go with it, this is a gem of a film.
The young leads are slightly awkward and faintly dysfuntional and played excellently. Their love for each other is strong and filled with innocence. The adults seem more troubled people Edward Norton, as the scout leader, is particularly excellent and Bruce Willis, playing the island's only law enforcement, puts in a nicely understated performance. Frances McDormand plays the mother convincingly and seems the only adult capable of rational thought. There's also a lovely cameo from Tilda Swinton as a meniacal Social Services officer, to highlight a few of the excellent performances.
There's the usual imaginative camerawork and the set (as in all of Anderson's films) has the effect of being played in a doll's house. However many times this is done it remains a jawdroppingly clever visual effect. The film will seem slow in its pacing to some. It builds on the story and its charm, more than pace and action. That said the climax does have a real sense of drama and excitement.
Moonrise Kingdom is a lovely story (nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay) and a beautiful evocation of the innocence of your first love. It's execution is quirky and offbeat and is wonderfully bought to life by Wes Anderson.