Moonrise Kingdom: A Short Review

Tonight I avoided the first half of the football along with my friend Albert Jan and we went to watch “Moonrise Kingdom” at the wonderful Everyman cinema in Hampstead. It was a real treat in every sense. To start with, the Everyman is a lovely cinema. It is quite expensive but you do get what you pay for: a comfortable seat in a great theatre and the chance to watch more than just the latest blockbusters (though it shows those too). I think it was the only cinema in my area that was showing Moonrise Kingdom, though it has been out for a while now.

And now to actually discuss the film itself! It is also a delight and definitely the most fun I have had watching a film in the cinema for a very long time. It has loads of recognisable elements from other Wes Anderson films, to the point where relaying all the familiar tropes would probably be a spoiler in itself. The plot is about two children who elope together on a fictional island off the American coast in the 1960s. That’s pretty much it. Much like The Life Aquatic or Fantastic Mr Fox, it’s basically a caper movie. A highly entertaining caper movie at that.

I think the cinematography was amazing. Apart from the fact that they all star Bill Murray, my favourite element of Wes Anderson movies is how he manages to invent and document amazing fictional places that exist in a weird universe just next door to ours. He manages to unfurl their rituals, customs and cartographies on the screen right in front of you. Meanwhile the performances of the child actors, of Bruce Willis, of Ed Norton and of Tilda Swinton are incredibly entertaining. I thought Ed Norton’s scout master was a little over the top at first but I started to love the character as the film continued. Bruce Willis gives an excellent and understated performance as the island’s police officer. I felt that some of the characters had back story that could have been dug into more deeply, but this may have made the film longer and baggier, and one of its joys is the snappy 90-ish minute run time.

The soundtrack features Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra” prominently and as usual the songs and background music selected are fantastic. I suspect that I shall be hunting it down on Spotify at the very least. One spoiler that you may welcome is that it is worth staying on as the credits roll because there is a great moment with the soundtrack that is a cute fusion of the spirit of Britten’s “…Guide…” and “Tubular Bells”.

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