For Reel

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
July 11, 2012, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Wes Anderson

The opening sequence of Wes Anderson’s latest involves a series of lateral pans through a household, sweeping with a self-awareness that firmly establishes to the audience that Moonrise Kingdom is meant to be approached as a storybook. In many ways, it is the definitive showcase of Anderson’s visual sensibilities – it is almost as if he were attempting to literalize the so-called “dollhouse” aesthetic that has become a key identifier of his work. The reiteration that Anderson is one of the most visually uncompromising of working American directors comes as no surprise, but nonetheless it is the kind of sequence that leaves one breathless through its impeccable framing, with each image ready, as the cliche goes, to hang on a wall. Unfortunately, not since Rushmore has Anderson met his high standard of art direction with a completely satisfying narrative. For a fantastical adventure tale of young love, Moonrise Kingdom often feels too stilted – while the adults of the story have already been beaten down by the world, the kids seem equally complacent, with their behavior seeming too methodical and calculated, possessing none of the exuberant spontaneity that one might associate with childhood. For once, it is as if Anderson wasn’t being precious enough – handsome as the production is, the intangible “warmth” has been systematically drained from it due to its insistence on artifice.

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