He’s doing it again with “Moonrise Kingdom.” With relentlessly rolling camerawork, he captures the effect of a pretty storybook turning its pages, where 12-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) want nothing more than to leave the adult world and create a new one in a magical inlet they call, “Moonrise Kingdom.”
A decorated camper, Sam knows how to do it … set up a camp, that is. Suzy has her beloved books, binoculars, records, kittens, and a batteryoperated phonograph player. So they’re all set.
This is 1965. These two kids have it all together. It’s the adults who don’t. There’s a storm threatening. We know this because the Narrator (Bob Balaban) tells us. Also, Sam and Suzy met when preparing for a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde” (about Noah’s flood) a year before.
They secretly correspond. An unwanted foster child, Sam is at rural New England’s Khaki Camp Ivanhoe. Clinically “troubled,” Suzy lives nearby with unhappy parents, the Bishops (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and three bratty younger brothers.
They escape to their little love nest, or tent, in their Kingdom and play at being adults. Chain-smoking Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) is the first to discover the catastrophe (“Jiminy Cricket, Sam’s flown the coop!”). Lonely philandering Police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) is alerted, only to find that Sam’s foster parents don’t want him anymore. Both lawyers, the Bishops, lead the outraged rescue operation. Others join the fray, including Sam’s conflicted fellow Khaki campers; a by-the-book child guardian named, “Social Services” (Tilda Swinton); and even the Narrator.
The adults are the chaff, to be washed away.
Go see “Moonrise Kingdom.” Hopefully, it will hold on against the flood of summer Batman and Spider-Man movies.