Moonrise Kingdom 2012 ★★★★★

I could talk about how this film's structure finally achieves the blissful melancholy that has been at the heart of all of Wes Anderson's films. I could talk about the precision of his framing and tracking shots, and how often he finds visual comedy through a perfect edit, or the slight entrance of new material into the frame. I could talk about how depressing the film is, the hints of both a traumatizing past, and that in a way, Sam and Suzy try and burn a memory so deep into their minds that they can create a traumatized memory they want to remember (perhaps best seen by Suzy's scream during her ear piercing - "do the other one"). I could talk about how the film's metaphysical elements - the cuts between art and life (a camera dolly back from the binoculars to a stain glass vision of Noah's Ark), Balaban's narrator as weather man, camera man (turn that light on!) and God - creates an element that gives each character a sense that their existence has meaning, even as they feel utterly hopeless to have a purpose in life. I could talk about how snappy the dialogue is, the way how tenuous Sam and Suzy's first day of traveling is, until he finally acknowledges that she is just as pained as he is (Manic Pixie Dream Girl this is not). I could talk about the film's vision of cinematic history, from the French New Wave to Premminger to even Murnau in the steeple climax, adding to the film's magical sense that the past is present and it matters. I could talk about how after all this, when Sam whispers "see you tomorrow," there is a chance that these two will never see each other, that they'll grow old, move on, and feel a bit silly about this adventure they had. And then one day they'll wake up, perhaps also in a disillusioned marriage hoping a storm carries one off, "sucked up into space." But then maybe they'll see a painting of an island, a magical land called Moonrise Kingdom. It was only a fairy tale, but it'll make them smile.

I could talk about all this, but I'd rather just watch this film again. This film is perfect.

3 Comments

  • Double feature with Night of the Hunter.

  • I actually thought of Hunter during the steeple finale, as well as the way Laughton and Anderson prefer static, flat compositions to something more deep focus. I avoided making the comparison because I thought this might just be the fact I watched it only a week ago. But yea, it's there.

  • Murnau is appropriate too, of course.

    But the kids fleeing a frightening reality for a silent cinema vision of a story book world struck me as very Hunter-esque, though in Anderson's version it's the mundane disappointments of adult life that scares rather than an actual homicidal preacher.

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