Set on a small island off the coast of New England in 1965, Moonrise Kingdom is a story about growing up and finding your roots. Our two lead characters are both children; Sam is a member of the khaki-scouts – the least popular in the group – and Suzy lives at home with her solicitor parents and three younger brothers. Following a chance meeting, they hatch a plan to run away together.
The cast of the film is superb. Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton… amongst others. Although each of them only gets a short time on screen, they are all superb and create lasting characters. The two young actors that the film is built around (Jard Gilman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy) are fantastic too.
The film is beautiful. The opening scene, for example, is a wonderful construct of colours and angles. The camera moves only in straight lines as we are introduced to Suzy’s home and family, and her longing to escape. This beauty remains throughout, but does change with our protagonists.
A mention must also be made for the music, which is very cleverly chosen (as with all Wes Anderson films). Lots of Britten and Hank Williams. Very atmospheric, but also with meaning for certain characters.
It may sound like a whole bunch of unrelated strands, and Wes Anderson may be known best for whimsy, but everything knits together into a very pleasing film which has something to say and is also a wonderful look back at 1960’s America.
One of the best films of the year, and the more I think about it, the more I enjoyed it.
(Playing at the Gate Cinema until Thursday 7 June, as well as other cinemas too, I guess…)
We played Dinotasia for only a week at the Gate Cinema, and I didn’t get a chance to see it until Thursday, the last day of screening. (Cinemas work on a Fri-Thu week). Hence, I didn’t bother reviewing it at the time. However, it’s such a niche film that I realised I was doing it a disservice by ignoring it!
Dinotasia is a weird film. It was billed as a dino-documentary narrated by Werner Herzog, but it isn’t really. It’s a series of shorts, all starring different dinosaurs going about their daily lives, but vaguely anthropomorphised so that stories can be told. Battling T-Rex’s, who are out for revenge, a sauropod getting high on magic mushrooms, giant deadly frogs… Between each short, Herzog narrates. He doesn’t get a lot of time, so he has managed to squeeze ‘extra Herzog’ into each line he has. It is brilliant.
Although the science behind the film is relatively sound (not just in my opinion, but that of a palaeontologist friend also) this is not a documentary and it isn’t out to teach us anything new. If you’re after depth and learning, then you’re better off visiting the Natural History Museum. It is also not a film for young children, as it’s fairly violent in places, and includes some dino-sex.
Dinotasia is, essentially, a late-night beer film for people like me. I am the niche audience, and I loved it. (The film should have been sold with a great B-Movie poster: SEE Dinosaurs fight, love and Get High! SEE giant deadly frogs! HEAR Werner Herzog!)
The film is unlikely to be seen a great deal in cinemas, but if a screening does come up I recommend the film. Go in ready to laugh, and you’ll have a great time.