Moonrise Kingdom. One of my favorite moves to come out in the past few years – I saw it in theaters twice! This is the kind of movie you can watch over and over again because in typical Wes Anderson fashion, there is so much to see and hear within every single shot.
My favorite thing about this movie, and every Wes Anderson movie, is the cinematography choices that are made. He embraces extremely wide shots, juxtaposing them with extreme close-ups. This keeps me interested as a viewer mainly because so few movies are able to completely this as effectively. Rather than looking and sloppy and mismatched, the movie moves seamlessly at a comfortable, engaging pace.
Beyond the cinematography, I think the writing and story is crucial to the success of this movie. This story has been done before in a way – two unhappy kids run away from home. The biggest challenge was to make it seem like this hadn’t been done before. This is well executed with the use of a narrator, and the unique sub plots. The humorous plot line with the Khaki scouts and Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton’s character) is one of my favorite parts of this movie. A big part of it may be that Norton is breaking out of his typecast with this role, playing a character that supplies comedic relief.
This brings me into the casting selection. I think this film did an excellent job casting each role. Having huge names like Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, and Norton starring with kids who are relatively unknown makes me, as a viewer, more willing to give these kids a chance to prove their talent… which they absolutely did. Only children are able to capture the innocence of growing up, awkwardly falling in love without realizing it, and the fear of “getting caught.”
Overall, the engaging cinematography, the writing, and the cast all contribute to the success of this movie as one of my favorite films. Sometimes the story line drags a bit, toward the end especially, but the interesting visuals and dark humor make it worth the viewing. I give this film a 4/5.