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June 30, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CST
Since 1996’s Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson has repeatedly mined remarkably similar cinematic territory. Were you to ask in 1995 if this Wes Anderson kid could carve out a niche making movies of the disaffected, overeducated upper-class set to soundtracks of old pop music, most would probably be thinking, “Of course not. What a silly concept. He will undoubtedly run out of steam.” They would have been dead wrong.
The director’s most recent effort, Moonrise Kingdom, follows two troubled children, the daughter of two lawyers and an orphaned Boy Scout analogue, and the subsequent search for them after they run away from their homes to live in the wilds of their 1960s New England island community.Related Movie
Wonderful supporting turns are provided by the reliable Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis, but the lion’s share of the scenes are deftly carried by newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Despite their lack of acting experience, the two are able to express the highs and lows of young love without tipping into the syrupy sentimentality so many youth films use as a crutch.
The cinematography is spectacular throughout. The nearly overpowering earth tones nail the vintage, insular setting. The people who are responsible for props must also go to the costume and set design, particularly the Khaki Scout camps.
Anderson fans, have no fear, the familiar tropes are present and accounted for. The static shots of intricately designed scenery, precocious children and vintage soundtrack will undoubtedly please fans of Anderson. Yet, he has again managed to rearrange these elements in a new and vibrant way. Not a member of the cult of Wes Anderson? This just might be the film to change that.