Wes Anderson has, in many ways, became an idol in the geek world, his work influencing the likes of Zooey Deschanel and her ‘adorkable’ approach to acting, Richard Ayoade’s ‘Submarine’ and he even received a special thanks in the credits of Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’, making him one of the most influential film makers of the last two decades. Although his films are never number one in the box office, his cult status has ensured that he continues to make films that won’t disappoint his biggest fans, even the animated ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ was filled with his quirky style and attitude for how a film should look. And yet again, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ doesn’t disappoint, breaking the highest grossing arthouse film record.
A staple of the Anderson film is the flawed anti-hero, the character that has more problems than humanly possible but through everything, the audience can and will still connect with them, from Royal at the head of the Tenenbaums to Max fighting for love in Rushmore academy, this character has always been an adult but now, we have Sam, the 12 year old Khaki Scout. Unlike Anderson’s previous films, the focus on a younger person adds a form of sincerity to his script which we haven’t seen before as both Sam and Suzy possess an innocence that hasn’t been seen in any of his previous protagonists. This use of children backed by his regular cast (Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman) is what makes Moonrise Kingdom just as good, if not better, than any of Anderson’s previous films with each character having a flaw just as big as the brothers on the Darjeeling Limited. Murray is on the wrong side of an affair between his wife McDormand and policeman Willis, whilst Norton, like Stiller in the Royal Tenenbaums, is a man child desperate for approval from a father figure. This dysfunctional cast of characters reads exactly like the script of any previous Anderson film and from the opening scene, you can tell that this is no different from his previous works, the image of a painting whilst the camera pans through a very plain house to introduce each character a la ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’.
Whilst this film is very similar to his others, if you haven’t liked him in the past, I would recommend that this should be the film to get you ‘in’ to Wes Anderson as the story is more heart warming and believable than most of his other films, even if there are two ridiculous moments. At times, the acting by Jared and Kara (our 12 year old stars) doesn’t quite match the emotion of Anderson’s script but beyond everything, that’s kind of what makes it so good, adding the nervousness and quirky timing that would normally be found in an Anderson film anyway.
Overall, this film, in my opinion, is utterly fantastic, the writing and directing proving that Wes can make a film not only for adults but , along with Fantastic Mr Fox, for children too.
4.5 Anderson’s out of 5.