It is no secret that I am openly fanatic about director and writer Wes Anderson. In fact, I derive much of my writing techniques from the dry but poignant scribe. So I was pleased to hear that Anderson had once again partnered with Roman Coppola, who co-wrote the brilliant "Darjeeling Limited" with Anderson, to bring to the silver screen a star-studded cast in this coming-of-age story. "Moonrise Kingdom" does not disappoint. What Anderson excels in is the method of storytelling through the eyes of his many aberrated characters with an overall tone of subtle oddity and quirk. The fallacy of their reality becomes the basis of the film and it's through their mishaps that expose their strengths. But what makes this movie much more enjoyable than his previous projects are that the main stars are the children themselves, bringing a sense of adventure and innocence.
We then purposefully move to the 'Khaki Scout' summer camp grounds where we learn one of the boys, Sam (Jared Gilman), has flown the coop, resigning from his duties as Boy Scout. This sends the Scout Master (Edward Norton) and his troop on a search and rescue effort for the missing boy, while the island Police Chief (Bruce Willis) finds out from one of the distant neighbors, Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) that their daughter Suzy (Kara Hayward), too, has run off. This sends all parties involved into a tizzy, as they are now searching for not one but two runaways.
From there, Anderson delights us with juxtaposed conversations, such as the one with social worker (Tilda Swinton), giving us more insight into Sam, as well as to a group of militia-like-weapons-bearing boy scouts who decide collectively to find the fugitive at all costs. These scenes deliver some of the darkest but strangely comedic sequences in the film.
What I love about Anderson's films is that the characters are always imperfect. The humor is dry but gloomy at times. However with "Moonrise Kingdom," Anderson has perfected his sinking-ship metaphor for life, and delivers a beautiful story with an almost child-like quality to it. There are scenes that stand out like painted backdrops to a school play that are reminiscent of his work in "Fantastic Fox" and then there are scenes that are so poignant that simply the use of vintage music, cleverly evokes an emotion.
"Moonrise Kingdom" is now playing in selected theaters.