Hopefully this isn't a result of watching this last night in ecstatic glee, but I'm convinced this is Wes Anderson's greatest film and while not having fully let go of his past themes, it feels like he's definitely exploring new ground.
Anderson isn't known exactly for his restraint regarding costumes, set, design and the shots themselves, but he's certainly pushing it here to the extreme and it's certainly following on the ideas he set up with Fantastic Mr. Fox
where every shot almost feels like a diorama. And just like Fantastic Mr. Fox
and The Life Aquatic
, he really embraces classic effects like stop-motion, sped-up movement (a silent movie technique), miniature scaled sets and other odd effects resulting in some of the greatest shots he's produced, including some particularly interesting silhouette effects. This really does create a zanier film than his fans would probably be use to, but it's certainly a breath of fresh air for his filmography.
But the story itself, the relationships developed in the film are what Anderson is still known for. You sense his love and he's having fun making a story about young, idealized romance that I'm sure everyone dreams about at some point.
At the point they arrive at their beach hideout, it's some of the most genuinely romantic moments I've seen in modern cinema I've seen in a long time while never being saccharine and falling into cute pap. From their dance to the exploration of their sexuality, it feels honest and real in a film that's otherwise fairly goofy.
I feel (though many might disagree) that it's a very different Anderson film and him moving into perhaps more child-like viewpoint in his cinema. The fact that there isn't a single Rolling Stones song should be a clear indicator that perhaps he's trying to move on from what he's exactly known as while not sacrificing his identity and style. It's a terrible shame that Focus Features is releasing this in the typical "indie" fashion. Had this been advertised correctly and done in the right way, this could've been a very commercial feature. It has the elements of what a mainstream audience would like, but hopefully they know what they're doing.