Follow Us on Twitter

Moonrise Kingdom - DVD Review

Moonlight Kingdom

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT WOULD be a very hard heart indeed that didn’t warm in some way to Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

Known for his idiosyncratic movie-making style in films like The Darjeeling Limited and The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson here retains that distinct visual approach but incorporates a witty coming-of-age romance that is relatable on so many levels.

Set on a small New England island in 1965, the film follows the disappearance of an eccentric Khaki scout named Sam (Jared Gilman) with the teenage girl, Suzy (Kara Hayward) he has fallen in love with.

Leading the hunt is Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) who enlists lovelorn local sheriff Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and Suzy’s world-weary lawyer parents Mr and Mrs Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand).

But while young love represents romance at its most innocent and simple, the adults must juggle more complexities – in Willis’ case, his feelings for McDormand, with whom he is having an affair, and Norton, who is coming to terms with his own personal failures and unrealised dreams.

There’s also the matter of an approaching hurricane…

Anderson, as he has done in all of his films, imbues proceedings with a highly eccentric quality but still manages to make the film work on an emotional level.

Gilman and Hayward are great child actors, who utterly capture the emotions they are being asked to deliver (whether it’s expressing their frustrations at the adults in their lives or their persecution by their peers), while the talented ensemble of adults are all on top form.

Willis, especially, delivers a sympathetic and highly sensitive alternative to some of his more macho ‘lawman’ roles, while Norton is quite often a delight, albeit tinged with sadness. Murray, as ever, is at his laconic best but also imbues his character with a highly defined sense of melancholia.

Moonrise Kingdom may struggle at times to cater for all tastes, by virtue of Anderson’s style, but even so there is something to resonate with almost anyone who can relate to the main themes at play.

It’s a beautifully directed, bittersweet movie – sometimes playful, sometimes sad – that endears itself on so many levels.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 94mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: October 1, 2012