Tuesday, 3 July 2012
At first Moonrise Kingdom seems to try too hard to be eccentric and often has a very stagy quality, perhaps deliberately. Those aspects mark it unmistakably as the work of Wes Anderson and no worse for that. There are a couple of moments in the third act that stretch the audience's willing credulity, being on the point of clumsiness I think, but it would be a heartless viewer indeed who was not willing to forgive these facets, which give the film a fairy-tale quality reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands or The Truman Show, and are consistent with the Am-Dram sensibility of the piece.
MK's heart is pure gold, a delightful melding of the innocence and earnest enthusiasm of Arthur Ransom's 'Swallows and Amazons' with the sassy grit and knowing irreverence of Quentin Tarantino's 'True Romance'. The central relationship is delightful, his and her quirks and affectations of adulthood not in the least annoying (which is an achievement). Edward Norton is excellent (we expect no less) and Bruce Willis' turn is nicely understated. Tilda Swinton is also a standout and thankfully used sparingly otherwise her character would have overpowered the gentler souls around her.
At only 94 minutes it's tempting to think that the film would feel lightweight, but the arc of the story is well served by MK's compactness, and by the time it reaches the end there is nothing left unsaid. MK deserves to be considered among Wes Anderson's finest work. There are characters here to root for unlike those populating The Royal Tenenbaums and Steve Zissou: The Life Aquatic.
Hooray for Uncle Wes! Sandwiches and ginger beer all round!