Friday, 1 June 2012

Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson (2012)

  1. Moonrise Kingdom is a film by Wes Anderson that you may want not to like, but will probably find impossible not to like.
  2. Anderson is turning into a obsessional stylist along the lines of Pedro Almodovar. His conventions are thematic, as well as visual, but his visual tics include the tracking shot through a model-like building, or actual model of a building. The inventory-taking diagrammatic layout shot. The artfully colour-coordinated codacrome fashion shoot shot. The symmetrical portrait with matching background shot (often in pairs). The slow-mo walking shot. The super long mise-en-scene in a single take. They are all here. In fact, if you like Wes Anderson as much as Wes Anderson does, you'll love this.
  3. There's something utterly mad and childish about wanting to get all of your favourite things into every film you make. It's like a boyscout who's proud of his badges. Or a little sensitive girl who wants to show you her careful selection of books and records.
  4. In this very entertaining video Bill Murray notes that Anderson tends to wear his trousers short, so everyone in this film also wears their trousers short and ends up looking like 'the kind of person you might want to mug'. You probably also noticed that the film is dedicated to Anderson's girlfriend, the writer Juman Malouf. And the film, in its earnestness, awkward showiness and nested detail, is exactly the kind of gift that a character in a Wes Anderson film would give their girlfriend.
  5. David Lynch wants to show you what's inside his head. But he's the kind of unapologetic weirdo that doesn't really care what you think:  he's blown his nose and wants you to look at the handkerchief. Anderson wants to show you what's in his head, but he also wants you to like it and appreciate that it's cool. And there's something annoying about this. Neediness of this kind is the opposite of cool - it's awkward. But oh, awkwardness is very Wes Anderson.
  6. If you'd like to experience the feeling of being in a Wes Anderson film in your own life, find a colleague or family member. Begin a conversation, but hold his or her gaze for way longer than is necessary or comfortable. Now look away. Now look back and thoughtfully offer them an ashtray, a carrot stick or a sandwich with the crusts cut off.
  7. Look at Bruce Willis, he thinks he's acting like an intelligent person acting like a stupid person. Ha ha ha.
  8. If you were a paedophile, wouldn't it be funny to get two 12 year olds to grope each other, film it and then show the film to millions of people? 
  9. Of course, the 10 Point Review is not suggesting that Wes Anderson is a paedophile, but only that, if he were, he'd be the paedophile all other paedophiles wanted to be. In fact one of the things that makes Wes Anderson's films so fundamentally Wes Anderson is their shyness around all matters sexual. (Apart from that bit in The Darjeeling Limited where Adrien Brodie fingers Amara Karan on a train which feels massively overdone and compensatory). Adult relationships in his films are always complex and sad, and there is a huge yearning to be actually pre-sexual. A non-sexual sexual impulse. Maybe what you're realising is that Wes Anderson is a strange guy. Perhaps you're even starting to think it's sort of wonderful that he's allowed to make films with big stars in them, that loads of people go to see.
  10. Bill Murray isn't an actor, he's the man with the world's most sympathetic face. Bill realised years ago that he didn't have to do anything to make people warm to him, in fact they warmed to him especially when he didn't do anything. His face reaches new levels of immobility in this film, like a hugely loveable sofa cushion, from a childhood rec room, with the stuffing removed.


  1. And yeah, ok, my pet theory about Anderson is that he has a really small penis. That's why he longs for a time before sex, because sex is tragic and disappointing. There's no penetration in his films only fingering, or stabbing with scissors.

  2. Best review so far.
    In Wes Anderson fashion, I'm going to self-consciously deploy a ten point list of things I've noticed about his formula, as a way of quantifying why I find him so irksome;

    Bored women neglecting their responsibilities and chain smoking while family life crumbles around them.
    Precocious children who read turn of the century Naturalist plays and listen to obscure early 1960s 7"s.
    A-list Hollywod hunks wandering around in a state of confusion.
    Soundtracks consisting of French chanson music and Appalachian stomp.
    Pastel coloured lounge suits.
    Patriarchs proving that they aren't to be fucked with.
    Pets with names from the Old Testament.
    Bill Murray drinking at inappropriate times whilst disengagedly partaking in manly activities.
    Characters reading in an unrealistic way, with the book held in front of their face (so as to display the title).
    Stage plays with extraordinary special effects.

  3. Damn skippin' right Mr. Malone.

  4. You nailed it about the sex! It's the first thing I thought about Moonrise Kingdom when I left the theater.

    At the heart of Wes Anderson's movies, particularly this one, is a anxiety about sex and passion. Or at least an avoidance. All sexual energy is sublimated into the fastidious mise-en-scene, an aesthetic so fully and delicately curated that only a kind-of thwarted sexual desire, with its attendant obsessions, could motivate it. In regards to sexual desire, Anderson goes as far as he is able in this film, which is to say, he explores libido up to the maturation level of pre-teens. Affectless, strangely cold pre-teens at that. Moonrise can even be seen as an argument against adult sex as a expression of love, for what could be more loving and beautiful than the "innocent" love-making the leads engage in here. In Anderson's world, real sex could never be as satisfying or rich as a 12-year old reaching second base. This point is never actually explored but rather is presumed as an axiomatic truth which is evident from the outset. This is not a movie about the recognition of nascent sexual desire; it's less about the burgeoning of a new modality of feeling as it is the expression of the director's fantasy of how that modality most purely and truly expresses itself, which is, bizarrely, the thing-itself (sexuality) deprived of it's substance (actual sex) in the name of deliberately manufactured beauty. This is not a bad description of Mr. Anderson's entire oeuvre, passion gets redirected into mannered affect, which then stakes a claim as true expression. Maybe this is why I'm always so torn about his movies; ultimately I sense a fear of feeling that troubles me.

  5. You are the ideal reader of this blog. Keep coming back. And bring friends.

  6. Dog in MK doesn't have a biblical name it's SNOOPY...The Incredible Mr. (and Mrs) Fox seemed pretty sexy to me...I blush just thinkin about it.

  7. Kind of weird that the only sexually live relationship you can think of is in his only out-and-out children's film no?

  8. adrien isn't the one who fingers the chick. it's jason schwartzman:) good review though bra