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Snap judgments - Moonrise Kingdom

     The new Wes Anderson movie, cowritten by Anderson and Roman Coppola, certainly is a richer pastiche than anything else you’ll see at the multiplex this season. Its fictional New England island town, New Penzance, is sent into mild upheaval when a sensitive Boy Scout runs away with the girl he loves. Set in the 1960s, Moonrise Kingdom evokes not just retro flourishes of Euro-mod chic but also the emotional aura of some wistfully remembered Charlie Brown holiday special. Anderson still knows better than anybody how to survey the cusp of adolescence with all the existential angst of a midlife crisis, and, for relief’s sake, to salt his findings with droll irony. Habitually he revels in tchotchke-laden production design, eloquent riffs on stagings from his earlier films, and a tendency to arrange his stars—Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis—in handsome tableaux. But there’s also a welcome new allowance of naturalness, particularly in land­scape and weather. Although occasionally insinuating a phobia of stillness and silence, the filmmaker’s typically tasteful musical affinities lean here toward English composers; sometimes it seems like instead of a full movie narrative he should’ve just tried a music video for the entirety of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. Which of course would be fantastic.

 

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