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Movie Madness: Moonrise Kingdom

Out of all of the films I have seen this year, none have impressed, fascinated, or mesmerized me like Moonrise Kingdom.

Kingdom is the story of Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), two young lovebirds hell-bent on being together. They meet at a play, and write to each other for a year, before deciding to run away together. They are both misfits; Sam is the least popular member of the “Khaki Scouts” by far. Suzy fights with other girls at school and claims she has no friends. Each is strange in their own little way, and they are clearly meant to be together.

Sam is an orphan, misunderstood by almost everyone he knows. Suzy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) ignore and don’t understand her.

The two plan their escape and travel along the island they live on. They share incredible chemistry and seem perfect for each other in this movie.

We have incredible supporting work from Edward Norton as Scout Master Ward, and Bruce Willis as Captain Sharp. Norton is the perfect blend of caring and clueless. Willis is first rate, and gives one of his best roles in years.

The always great Murray and McDormand are just that here. They definitely have marital problems, and along with that, parenting problems. They show true emotion, and prove to both be forces to reckon with. I love the roles for these two.

Wes Anderson truly directs his best film yet. It’s funny, touching, emotional, and dramatic. It incorporates so many great elements that make it wonderful in its own right, but Anderson spins it in to something even better. Granted, not everyone will enjoy the way Kingdom is filmed, but I love it, and can’t imagine this film without Anderson’s funky sort of style.

The cinematography by Robert Yeoman is just fantastic. He takes full advantage of the beautiful Rhode Island setting, and makes this film gorgeous to watch. Fantastic work out of Yeoman.

What really makes Kingdom is the performances of the two young stars. They are outstanding, and if they can build off performances like this, they will have great careers.

Moonrise Kingdom is one of those rare films that touches your heart. The vibrant characters, colors, and cinematography make this film one of the year’s best. And the outstanding screenplay, direction, performances, and cinematography are sure to have it up for multiple Oscars. It hasn’t garnered much commercial success, but anyone with a chance to see this film, needs to take it immediately. 4 stars.