Moonrise Kingdom (USA, 2012)

MV5BMTEwMTc3NDkzOTJeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDI4NTAwNzc@._V1_SX640_SY720_Directed by: Wes Anderson. What can you say about Wes Anderson that hasn’t been said before? Someone recently made the suggestion to me that he’s the Quentin Tarantino of art-house—all style and no substance. I’m not going to give that debate any credence here, but I find it interesting that these little diorama pieces of films that Anderson has been imprinting on the culture for the last one and a half decades can be the source of such strong negative emotion. Watching Moonrise Kingdom really emphasized to me how prominently Anderson sits as a cultural/asthetic/fashion/humour/thought originator for a specific section of this generation, the section generally (pejoratively) referred to as “hipsters”. This is his first explicit period piece, and, combined with the Boy Scout aesthetic, I wondered whether or not he was winking at all of us—his detractors and his followers alike, hipster and “hipster” alike—as we follow that kid in his thick black frames and un-ironic coonskin hat, surrounded by tacky 60’s landscape paintings of deer and moose in the rugged outdoors. These tropes of culture and fashion that we’ve expropriated for our hipster culture are fully intact in the 60’s—see what I mean? Ah, it’s not worth it today. One thing I can say for certain is that this film provides the most in-depth, interesting and funny exploration of childhood as it meets with sexuality and adulthood that I personally have ever seen. It made me realize that all of Anderson’s films in one way or another are about that painful process by which we become aware of the inadequacies of the real world when it confronts and contains and sets the limits of our boundless childhood imagination. That’s what I took away from it, anyway. But this is definitely a re-watchable movie. I can’t wait to see again that opening image of Edward Norton and his miniature army barracks, the absurd formality of boy scouts, and a cigarette hanging from his mouth the whole time. At worst, he’s a one-note filmmaker, but at best, he makes occasionally great films around interesting themes, and this is one of his greats. P.S. 10 points for Bob Balaban!

One response to “Moonrise Kingdom (USA, 2012)

  1. Pingback: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Germany/France, 2014) | Offhand Reviews·

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