Tag Archives: Tilda Swinton

Moonrise Kingdom

1 Nov


Director: Wes Anderson

Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and Bruce Willis

Motion Picture Rating: 12A

Runtime: 94 minutes



I always look forward to seeing the new Wes Anderson film, but I don’t come away completely satisfied every time. Rushmore was stunning, but I struggled with The Royal Tenebaums. I enjoyed The Life Aquatic a lot and The Darjeeling Limited was a pleasant distraction. Here on Moonrise Kingdom, however, I think that Anderson has surpassed those and delivered his best (live action) film to date. The expected Anderson whimsical themes and quirky production design are all present and I smiled widely from start to finish. It is a 90 minute delight.

The imaginary setting is the Island of New Penzance and the year is 1965. Bob Balaban, as the narrator, tells us that a big storm is approaching. Whilst the weather worsens we follow the exploits of two 12 year olds, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward). They run away from the khaki scout troop (Sam) and from a big eccentric family (Suzy) to meet up and to have an adventure. Sam and Suzy are in love. They are also misunderstood by their friends and family. Sam is described as being “emotionally disturbed” whilst Suzy is tagged with having “so many problems”. As such they get each other and are content to leave adults and other meddlers far behind.

Like all of Anderson’s films this one is meticulously styled and shot. It is beautiful to look at and each scene opens with some artfully clever framing. The opening credits alone are genius. Colours are vibrant throughout and the imaginary island, that in the real world would be somewhere like Martha’s Vineyard, provides great backdrops to the search for the runaways. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman return and are both typically excellent. In addition Edward Norton is great as the zealous scout leader, Bruce Willis convinces as the tired police chief and both Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand impress. It is a great cast.

There are few laugh-out-loud moments in Moonrise Kingdom however it is sweet and funny throughout. A lot of that comes from Sam and Suzy as the runaway couple – he with the Davy Crocket hat and her with the binoculars. Sure their romance is over-blown and open for cynicism, but you would have to be stone hearted not to root for them.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

26 Mar

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Writers: Lynne Ramsay (screenplay), Rory Kinnear (screenplay), and 1 more credit

Stars: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller

Motion picture rating: R

Runtime:  112 minutes



What would you do if your child from birth was both menacing and unbearably difficult to love? It is a grim question, but one posed by this film (an adaptation of a 2003 book by Lionel Shriver). The fictional child in question is Kevin and from day one he is a real test of his mother’s composure. As a baby he does nothing but scream. As an infant he refuses to speak. He won’t be potty trained and is still soiling nappies aged about six. Kevin shows little compassion for others, he deliberately provokes his mother and maintains a blank dead-eyed look all of the time.

Kevin (played incredibly well by Jasper Newell 6 – 8 and then Ezra Miller 13 – 16) is clearly not a normal child. His mother (Tilda Swinton) has him tested, but medically he is fine and with his father he acts mostly as he should for his age. It is with his mother that the menacing and sociopathic behaviour occurs. The story of Kevin and his mother is told in flashback mode, but one that is deliberately disjointed so as to up the anxiety level. As such it is a proper thriller with warning signs and clues mixed into the narrative and with wide swashes of the colour red in many scenes.

The story of a nihilistic and sociopathic child, building towards a horrific and bloody climax, is not an easy subject and this is not an easy film to watch. It is, however, a superbly crafted piece of cinema that deserves plaudits. The lighting, pacing and composure of shots are supreme. The music, the editing and the acting is faultless. This really is a high class piece of work that is centred around Tilda Swinton’s phenomenal performance as the lonely and desperate mother. Hers is an unflinching performance and I found it and the film riveting.

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