COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 34min
STARRING: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand
Moony tunes: Hayward and Gilman
Kicking off with leisurely panning shots that set director Wes Anderson’s distinctive, winking tone, Moonrise Kingdom is a Golden Ticket to the New England island of New Penzance. But not so golden for orphaned 12-year-old Sam Shakusky (Gilman), who makes tracks from his scout camp one night, much to the consternation of fussbudget Scout Master Ward (Norton) and laconic local lawman Captain Sharp (Willis, poised even in white socks).
Sam, who is serious and unpopular, doesn’t care. He’s running away with his great love, Suzy Bishop (Hayward), who is fleeing her fractured family (Murray and McDormand are her frantic parents). Suzy packs her cat, a Françoise Hardy record and stolen library books. Sam smokes a pipe. The two of them could be 50 years old.
When Anderson’s humorous detachment, mannered delivery and gauzy lensing pays off, they’re an idiosyncratic eye-opener. Moonrise Kingdom has its inspired moments — a cast of this calibre takes care of that — and visually, it’s a folkloric ideal. It’s also stagy and affected, but then, that’s Anderson all the way, his whimsical stylings a frothy fill-in for substance.