Wes Anderson: Moonrise Kingdom

Last night I was lucky enough to join a few friends for the Boston/Cambridge Premiere of Wes Anderson‘s new film, Moonrise Kingdom, at Cambridge’s very own Brattle Theater.

While it’s odd not to see a Wilson brother in the film (Anderson’s first movie to forgo all three), he instead reached out to another first family of film, tagging Roman Coppola as co-author – as he did on The Darjeeling Limited (I’m ignoring Jason Schwartzman for this point). While Roman is typically know for directing music videos (working with Phoenix, Daft Punk, and The Strokes) perhaps Anderson’s notorious allegiance will shine a spotlight on the first feature length film by Sophia’s older brother: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Swan III (currently in production).

Now, while I’m not a card-carrying Anderson fanatic, I have thoroughly enjoyed everything he has released to date – and Moonrise Kingdom is wonderful. In fact, the film is absolutely incredible.

As the movie poster may conjure, Moonrise Kingdom is a romantic tale of a young boy and girl, burdened by circumstances beyond their control, cascading through life with the same declining trajectory. The adult characters grapple to understand the youth’s unorthodox escapism, instead misidentifying the rebellion as a willful insubordination, or worse, criminal malfeasance. As pressure from the state & local police, parents, scout-leaders, and a record-breaking storm system bare down upon them, the child paramours continue to rule, entrenched, within their mythical dominion bookended by pilfered record player & fantasy novels.

In the same vein as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie, Anderson treats idealism whimsically, utilizing partially animated sequences & hokey special effects. Moonrise Kingdom is a trail-blazing adventure film as much as it’s a tale of socially-scorned fantasy, and the Rhode Island landscape plays a central role. Filled less with the sublime than an impending hurricane may suggest necessary, scenes instead rely on the carefully crafted picturesque, and as is becoming a hallmark of Anderson’s films, natural settings, color-pallete, wardrobe, soundtrack, and intricate stage sets work together to thrust the viewer into an idilic dreamscape – a borderline surrealism that pulls us away from what is real, to what we wish were real.

Anderson has created a hopeful alternate reality in which youthful pursuits can collide fully with jaded reality and, barring natural disaster, survive completely intact.

Moonrise Kindgom stars Jared Gilman & Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton (who is awesome in this role), Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton (the only evil character), Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, and Bob Balaban (playing a part that seems held over from The Life Aquatic).

It should be coming to theaters near everyone starting today, June 1st.

Go see this movie right away.

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