A tale about two (very) young lovers Sam and Suzy, who run away to a picturesque island, which they call ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, but a few people can’t let them be together. The film, a romantic-comedy-drama film, directed by Wes Anderson, fills you with much joy and laughter. The world out there is as utopian as it can get; so much that you wish it was real. Experience bundle of goodness in these 90-odd minutes!
‘Moonrise Kingdom’ - Never understood what the name meant in the context of the film, but it would not matter anyway. This was not just a film. It was an experience. There was not a moment when you could waive your attention away from the screen.
In 1965, on an island called New Penzance located in New England, 12-year-old Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) who is attending a ‘Khaki Scout’ summer camp, Camp Ivanhoe, led by South Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton), goes missing. Around the same time, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), who is living with her attorney parents Walt Bishop (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand) and three younger brothers, too goes missing with all her luggage. It seems Sam and Suzy had met the previous summer during a church performance by the latter, and had remained in touch through letters over the following year. They hatch a plan to reunite and run away together. While Shakusky brings his camping equipment, Suzy gets six books, her cat and a record player along with her. Hot on their trail are the Bishops guided by Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). Sam and Suzy are off to a wondrous island, which they name ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. They share some very special moments on this island until they are finally hunted down by Suzy’s parents, the police and the Scout Master. While Suzy is banned from seeing him again, Sam faces the prospect of spending the rest of his teenage years in a ‘juvenile refuge’ as his foster parents refuse to take him back.
The rest of the pack from the Scout, which had been quite rude to Sam earlier, decides to reunite the young couple. The rest of the film carries on the charming flavour that inundates the initial bit. The delightfulness of the dialogues and the scenes cannot be expressed in words.
The film belongs to Kara Hilman and Jared Gilman. The two kids are so immensely talented. The control in their performances was admirable. There was no conscious attempt to show the world that they were acting. It was just effortless.
Bruce Willis and Bill Murray may have aged. You may see the added wrinkles on their faces, their receding hairline and their bulging paunches, but you cannot ignore their charm. Edward Norton can still play the same role if a ‘Fight Club’ remake was done. He may have aged by a few years but the sprightliness hasn't withered away. Amazing efforts put in by Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton (Social Services), Jason Schwartzman in a hilarious cameo (Cousin Ben) and the legend Harvey Keitel as Commander Pierce. Bob Balaban, who is the Narrator, amuses one and all with his deadpan expressions and dry humour.
The writing (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola) is beautiful. The film kept on playing out one exquisite moment after another, backed with the finest dialogue in recent times. The cast, filled with legends, stayed trued to its reputation and delivered exceptional performances. The kids, especially, made this film truly special. Cinematography by Robert Yeoman was first-rate. The writing made the film great, but the visuals made it even more special. The art direction (Gerald Sullivan), production designs (Adam Stockhausen) and set decoration (Kris Moran), elevated this film to a different level altogether. Wes Anderson of ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ fame has another film to be proud of as a director. His writing ability was never doubted, anyway. Music by Alexandre Desplat is something else altogether. Watch the credit roll, it’s pretty much mind-blowing!
This was not just the magical cinematography or the wonderful locations or the charming dialogue or the scintillating performances or the transcendental music or the astute direction or the poetic screenplay. This film was EVERYTHING. Watch Moonrise Kingdom for sure, folks. It's a brilliant film. Wait till the end credits roll. You'll leave the cinema hall with a smile.