Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.4/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012) - Wes Anderson

The transformation of childhood to adolescence is a significant one. It is a phase where we go from narrow worries and love for the mysteries of life to the vision of plain routine days of work, frustrations, and formula. If an idyllic world designed by adults is suddenly broken by the power of child innocence, what might that entail?

As Moonrise Kingdom opens, the cinematography is flat and straightforward, locked on a grid, with clean movements. It is the perfect visionary assistant to the ideal world of 1965 New Penzance. Every action is routine. The Scout Master (Edward Norton) wakes up, calls the scout boys for breakfast. Yet, the first rebellious contrast unfolds itself, an empty chair, a missing boy. From this point on, the plot already took off, and we already know what is going on.

Moonrise Kingdom revolves around a twelve-year old orphan named Sam (Jared Gilman) and a depressed girl named Suzy (Kara Hayward), who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness, causing all of the authorities to try to hunt them down. These authorities include Suzy's father (Bill Murray) and the local sheriff (Bruce Willis).

Moonrise Kingdom is a "painting" of a film, where the screen is almost always filled with vibrant colors. There is a wide scope of green because of the trees and the grass, yet Anderson adds enough red in the picture to even out the appearance in its entirety. To agree with Roger Ebert, "It is a comfortable canvas to look at, so pretty that it helps establish the feeling of magical realism." As mentioned before, the cinematography is unique and truly enhances the experience of the story. The very movement of the camera fits the tone and atmosphere of the narrative, and the editing also comes in connected like two puzzle pieces bonded together.

The movie has the pure taste of an independent film. It is driven with bizarre energy, where everything technical is presented in an unorthodox way, from the way scenes transition to the way people read letters. It has a narrator who breaks the fourth wall almost every single time he appears. In terms of the acting, every single character is beautiful to watch, whether you agree with them or not. In fact, it is really refreshing to see Bruce Willis do something less intense and more relaxing. In fact, I want up to five more movies with Bruce Willis playing this kind of character. As for Bill Murray, he excels in his role ever since the first time he stood in a Wes Anderson film.

The two leads are really what carries the movie's heart. Although not the best, they both bear an intriguing chemistry as they slowly progress to their dream runaway location. As they approach the passage of childhood innocence, they also explore maturity. Once again, this bizarre take on a child duo will have you raising your eyebrows once in a while, but in the end, it is the source of an artistic piece.

This is a film about themes and direction. Wes Anderson explores the most heart-driven subjects, subjects like childhood love, the child's need to escape, and as mentioned before, the battle between childhood and adolescence. The most interesting part of Moonrise Kingdom is that every single person you see who is living on the island has not truly "lived." It is not until the unconventional impact of the two kids missing that ignites a transformation for every citizen.

In conclusion, Moonrise Kingdom is a precious film, one of the greatest independent films I have seen. It is an enchanting tale about the extraordinary unfolding in the world of the ordinary. Better, it drives nostalgia for young love and the glories of childhood. Weird and mischievous but innocent and sincere, Moonrise Kingdom flourishes with rhythm, crafty cinematography, and storytelling.


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