Director: Wes Anderson
Nominated: Best Original Screenplay
Moonrise Kingdom is a strange little film, that revolves around two young dysfunctional outcasts. Anderson provides support for his young actors by surrounding them with well established actors, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand. There is a tongue in cheek tone to their performances which comes from the very straight way they play characters that are overblown and almost caricatures.
Everything is just a little bit heightened and at the same time very straightly played. The whole film is suffused in yellows and browns. They are by far the dominant colors, very much evident in the Khaki Scouts uniforms. The Khaki Scouts camp made me chuckle as it reminded me of my own time camping as a Scout. At the same time I was thinking how ridiculous some of their activities were. It was like Anderson had taken the activities known to Scouts and played them from the point of view of someone who only has the vaguest notion of what Scouting actually consists of, like pioneering projects with the impractically high treehouse on an extremely spindly tree.
Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the two young leads, Sam and Suzy, are compelling to watch in their unusual journey. Both are unhappy in their lives and seek solace in each other. Suzy is beautiful and has that hard confidence of someone angry with her life. Their relationship contains the awkwardness of first discoveries of the opposite sex.
Like I said it’s a strange little film and not one that I think would appeal to the cinema going audience at large. That’s not to say it is an unappealing film, far from it, I was completely compelled all the way through, and it wouldn’t be up for an Oscar if it was unappealing. But I think few people would be willing to sit through a film with a unique style and sense of humor like Moonrise Kingdom. I can see it as more of an independent, art-house film that appeals to a niche audience. I’m aware that some people may call me a film snob for this but I think I hold a more realistic view of how people approach cinema.