Dir: Wes Anderson (yeah, I know!)
Starr: Jared Gilman, Kara Howard, Bill Murray (obviously), Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton.
Verdict: 5/5 (a masterpiece)
Great Films that are similar: A Bout de Souffle, Bande a Part, La Strada
Prologue: The Anderson Generation
Now, I like Wes Anderson, but...
If you've been to college, then you already know the scenario. Late in the night, after a long college party, the hippest kid in the room will put on a Wes Anderson movie. Many will cheer, many will groan. Alass, the fans of Wes Anderson are known as hipsters-fashion is their only religion, new age fun their only decree.
So, what is a Wes Anderson movie??
It is one in which characters look like this:
Romance looks like this:
and, uh, whatever....
Well, until this happened....
Moonrise Kingsdom-The Redemption of the Hipsters
Godard, Truffaut, Fellini-somebody done usurped your asses.
Yes, in telling the story of two teens eloping into the wild on a remote island, our crocodile-shoes -wearing friend Wes has made a masterpiece. Moonrise Kingdom, unlike much of Anderson's other work (mentioning no names in perticular, Mr. Zissou), is a triumph of both style AND substance. A movie in which dorks and hipsters alike are given dignity, motivation grace, and elegance. A movie in which two young lovers allow their actions to speak louder than empty quips, and the influnce of nature's stunning might and music's grace are never far away from the film's plot.
With and 82 on Metacritic and, currently, a 95 % from the coveted rottentomatoes.com (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/moonrise_kingdom/) one might be forgiven for seeing Monrise Kingdom as some sort of film revolution from Anderson. Well, it is. With regular cinematographer Robert Yeoman, Anderson has created one of the most beautiful looking films made thus far in the 21st Century. the fictional island of New Penzance is rife with sweeping cornfields, tempestuous beaches, and generally mind-blowing (not to mention romantic) scenary. The setting is still very personal to Anderson (New penzance is based loosely on Fisher's Island NY) but the film simply has more visual dynamic than the square, stagey quality of many recent Anderson works. Look out for the slow zooms as Suzy views the world through her binoculars-this is a technique sadly under-used in modern film.
|Pictured-the work of men who could steal your girlfriend.|
But, in the end, a romance is all about the characters. And, low and behold, this is where the real revelation takes place. For the first time in a long time, Wes Anderson provides us with characters that we can believe in. The two principles themselves have a quiet dignity. They are unashamadely violent in confrontation, yet so passionate in a romantic scene on a beach in which they dance, kiss and explore each other's bodies for the first time (a Godard homage, my favourite scene in cinema thus far this year). Jared Gilman is terrificly deadpan as Sam but, for me, it's Kara Hayward as Suzy that steals the show. The delightfully crazy Suzy is played to perfection by a young actress who is a real life member of Mensa. We cannot quite tell what is going on behind her beautiful eyes-but we would like to know.
As for the adults-well, Bruce Willis is the love-scorned cop, Edward Norton is the well-meaning boy scout, and Frances McDormand gives another remarkably real performance as a female professional stuck in a dull marriage. Even Bill Murray shows emotion this time out....
|He does! I swear.|
The climax scene on the island's church roof pretty much embodies the film. As a storm swells up and the elements beat down upon them. Sam and Suzy stand together atop a church roof, prepared to jump if they are not allowed to be together. It is a love story right out of the 1960s; it feels like the product of a time when love was simple, passionate, and really cool. And, yes, this is a very cool film. It's also funny, stylish, fun, and mature.
So, is this another one for the hipsters? Well, yes, but it is one for everbody else also. Perhaps, in the future, when the college students throw this film on at parties, the whole room could be proud of Wes Anderson for one little moment.
|One magical, chair-sittin' moment.|
Thanks for your time, folks!!!!!