From the master of delightful deadpan you can pretty much telegraph what you are going to get, a much loved melancholy mix that audiences ponder and critics love, all while still not being everyone’s cup of Darjeeling.
Ever since my first unexpected Anderson encounter (on an in-flight movie) in The Royal Tenenbaums I have come to find there’s nothing quite as whimsical as a Wes Anderson movie; they’re an experience for sure, and in Moonrise Kingdom the niche director has returned to trusted ways that once again focus on staple themes of domestic dysfunction and youthful revolt.
What Anderson does is no longer that radical, his direction remains brilliantly stylistic but stoic. His last feature Fantastic Mr Fox (which I adore) was unique, but his indomitable style works in that it’s still visceral and captivating, even if now perhaps regimented in its own panache.
His direction and vision evoke hilarity in the most subtle of ways, and here returning to live action it delights more so in its familiarity rather than stepping out of Anderson’s self-created niche.
Here again, the primary coloured vivid surrealism creates an almost dreamlike world on the island of New Penzance, were a brilliant tracking introduction of Bill Murray’s rabbit warren home ushers in more of the same, but it is still very welcome.
Mentally disturbed kid Sam (Jared Gilman) exits from Scout camp Ivanhoe to meet up with pen pal and fellow runaway Suzy (Kara Hayward). Edward Norton’s bands of Khaki scouts give wilderness chase. Bruce Willis’ short trouser wearing Island cop gives assistance and a search gets underway in sight of a coming storm.
Telling a coming of age tale and the naivety of youth, were much story is told within the adventurous backwoods escapade makes for a far more relatable tale of heart than what Anderson has given us before, more so than the distant peculiarity of Tennebaum’s upper class kinsfolk when placing the precocious pair of youthful fugitives in front . Such clever and cordial delivery from newcomers is admirable.
As ever, whether knowing more about the capability of actors or just supreme direction, Anderson gets brilliant po-faced delivery from his charges. Anderson veterans Murray and Schwartzman could do it in their sleep now but Willis, Norton and McDormand are welcome additions to the Anderson Stable.
Dialogue remains amusingly deadpan, but delivery of such imperceptible hilarity relies on pivotal comic timing and with the ensemble clearly having a good time of it, gags are pin sharp.
Charming, whimsical and unique in his and its own style, Moonrise Kingdom follows the formula to still remain as fascinating and hilarious as ever, without stating anything overly revelatory than what has come before.
But when you buy an Anderson ticket you get and know what you pay for and that still amounts to high quality, enchanting filmmaking.