Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Hannah Kaner 5 July 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson, 12A, 94 mins


Moonrise Kingdom has the absurd quality of a gently twisted fairy tale. It tracks the rebellious infatuation of two twelve year-olds as they abscond from their carers on the narrow isle of Penzance. And a storm is coming.

Whether this ‘storm’ is a cheap metaphor nudging at the transition of childhood to teenage-dom or not, Wes Anderson’s framed shots give us a window into a world rendered nostalgic in primary colours. This film offers the surreal image of young love trudging into the wilderness, amusingly equipped with a bright blue record player, a kitten and a coonskin cap.

Ever a master of the surreal, Anderson’s characters speak in slightly stilted language; the protagonists in particular talk matter-of-factly, without the gush of a cliche-driven rom-com. This linguistic plainness and tentativeness works well, especially with the pervading sense of anticipation integral to a romance between two awkward children.

Moonrise Kingdom’s highlights are those fantastically kooky moments when the certainty of youth clashes with adults’ bafflement. Edward Norton and Bruce Willis are excellent as distressed Khaki Scout Captain and ineffectual Sheriff. Extending a tentative hand over the schism between old and young in an attempt to help the runaway children, they are hilarious in their incompetence.

Wes Anderson’s latest is a witty and startling combination of rambunctiousness and restraint. It’s quite pertinent that a house introduced to us at the beginning of the film is named ‘Summer’s End’, for Moonrise Kingdom offers all the breathless excitement of those final weeks of warm freedom.

Hannah Kaner