Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

All the things that commended classic Wes Anderson films like Rushmore and The Royal  Tenenbaums come to naught in the recently released Moonrise Kingdom. The Royal Tenenbaums paid homage to Franny and Zooey, but it had it’s own colorful take on genius. In Moonrise Kingdom the themes of childhood precocity and genius and the countervailing picture of adult ineptitude and also irresponsibility lie at the heart of the canvas, but all the characters and settings are wooden. Anderson has a highly estheticized view of innocence. It’s not Rousseau so much as the Pre-Raphaelites that are the apparent influence and the film is replete with dazzling visual inventions and camera set-ups that exude a surrealistic panorama, a kind of filmic magical realism only equalled by the Coen Brothers. But the visual sleights of hand—a candy cane lighthouse, a map come to life, a police station that looks like a dog house, an island called Penzance and a scout camp called Ivanhoe—are self-conscious gizmos that lead nowhere. It’s as if you have all the bricks and mortar, the palette of the Wes Anderson style and themes including that of mental illness (Coping With a Very Troubled Child is a pamphlet carried around by Anderson’s 12 year old mascara wearing protagonist, Suzy Bishop, played by Kara Haywood), without any accompanying earned or even unearned emotion. It doesn’t help that Anderson’s A list cast including Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton, iterate their lines as if they’d fallen asleep at a backer’s audition and had absolutely no idea what their cartoon characters were about. Anderson’s young hero Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman), a prepubescent portrait painter who's already turning out nudes, spots his love interest at a production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye's Fludde. Robinson Crusoe, Lord of the Flies and Our Town then provide the cultural padding for the movie’s not very pristine and unnatural world.

1 comment:

  1. Phil and I loved this movie. I felt like I was living in a beautifully written and dense children's book (not a picture book- something like The Yearling which I loved so.)


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