Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson remains his own best parodist, so I'm uncertain whether the pride of place he awards to Benjamin Britten in Moonrise Kingdom is a newfound enthusiasm or just escalation.  I'm getting tired of comparing Anderson's films to Cornell boxes, but the labored set design of Summer's End, the mid-Sixties holiday retreat of the Bishop family at one end of New Penzance, an island halfway between Montauk and Martha's Vineyard, claws at the eye.  Weathered trimming, desultory board games, and kitschy oil paintings aggressively crowd the frame to draw in this curator of summer cabin aesthetics.

Kingdom is as wry and diverting as previous Anderson outings, but it doesn't carry quite the dread of mortality that stalked, say, The Royal Tenenbaums or The Darjeeling Limited.  This is probably due to the focus on adolescents Sam and Suzy; the adult A-listers' roles are respectfully muted.  Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman are delightful discoveries, although I couldn't help imagining Jason Schwartzman coaching them off-camera.  I suppose it is gluttonous of me to have wished for a scene between the Camp Lebanon's conniving Supply Master (Schwartzman) and Commander Pierce (Harvey Keitel's mustache).

I hope Ed Norton becomes a permanent addition to Anderson's collection.  The alarm that Norton's Scout Master Ward displays when he learns that Sam is an orphan poignantly illustrates the potential of Anderson's declamatory dialogue style.  I am Jack's bottomless well of wistfulness.

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