Selected to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Wes Anderson’s seventh feature sees him return to live-action (following Fantastic Mr. Fox) with an obvious glee that helps make Moonrise Kingdom the director’s definitive film to date. All of the distinctive characteristics of his work are in evidence; carefully colour-coordinated costumes and sets, gracefully choreographed camera movement, a well-chosen soundtrack, mannered performances and, of course, that singular sense of humour.
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, the story follows two troubled 12 year olds, Suzy and Sam, who fall in love and run away together, sparking a manhunt involving his scoutmaster (Edward Norton), her parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), local law enforcement (Bruce Willis), and the imposing figure of Social Services (Tilda Swinton). The period setting, a first for Anderson, allows him to fully indulge his stylistic tics, creating an engagingly warm and witty film that’s a strong addition to his body of work. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)