Moonrise KingdomDirector: Wes Anderson, Universal Pictures, Rated PG, 94 mins
Wes Anderson’s world is usually a brilliant blend of the weird and the wonderful which is again personified in the unusual title of his latest release that appears at times unreal due to his choice of cartoonish type characters that saturate the storyline and some make-believe settings.
Distinctly different to his Indian setting in ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ Anderson’s story of young love takes place in 1965 on the fictional island of New Penzance where 12 year old khaki scout Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) described as an emotionally disturbed orphan decides to suddenly leave his scout troop and run away with 12 year old Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), an equally troubled girl who is estranged from her parents Laura
(‘Fargo’s Frances McDormand) and Walt (‘Lost in Translation’s Bill Murray) - the latter unaware of Laura’s secret affair with police chief, Captain Sharp (‘Die Hard’s Bruce Willis).
All hell breaks loose after Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) discovers Sam’s desertion and learns from Laura that Suzy has also left home to meet up with Sam - assigning his troop to search for the star-crossed sweethearts besides calling in Sharp who in turn notifies Social Services (Tilda Swinton - ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’) of the disappearance of Sam (an orphan whose foster parents don’t want him back).
Having earlier set up camp by a beach which becomes their ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and against the background of an island-wide search as well as a looming storm both Sam and Suzy arrange for a scout official to marry them just as the huge storms hit resulting in Sharp taking his dramatic and heroic action.
In line with Anderson’s often idealistic and unrealistic narrative, childhood behaviour takes on a different meaning with relationships forming a central feature in his movies.
Even though some of the star-studded cast of McDormand, Murray, Norton, Swinton, Willis (including Harvey Keitel as Scout Commander Pierce) are amusing, the real highlights are the performances of Hayward and Gilman (in their first feature film) who steal the limelight in Anderson’s fantasy of a ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ charmingly capturing the romantic ideals of two 12-year-old runaways.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
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