Wes Anderson reigns benevolent over Moonrise Kingdom | Movie Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Wes Anderson reigns benevolent over Moonrise Kingdom 

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, and Bruce Willis star in the cult director's latest quirky comedy

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Moonrise Kingdom: A fairy tale starring Bill Murray

Moonrise Kingdom: A fairy tale starring Bill Murray

Shot on super 16-millimeter and set mainly inside a 15-mile radius, this fairy-tale period piece is Wes Anderson's most intimate film since Bottle Rocket (1996) and maybe his most deeply felt overall. It takes place in 1965 on a fictional island called New Penzance, where a 12-year-old orphan runs away from scout camp with a morose girl he considers his soul mate. A group of adults—the girl's parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand), the boy's scout master (Edward Norton), a local sheriff (Bruce Willis)—organize a search and in the process coalesce into a little family of lonely depressives. As usual, Anderson's densely imagined mise-en-scene contains many allusions to movies, music, and literature (Benjamin Britten's orchestral work being a key touchstone); what's different this time is that most of the cultural references grow naturally from the characterization.

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