Believe it or not, it’s been sixteen years since Wes Anderson released his first theatrical film. Bottle Rocket announced him to a limited indie audience as a new voice in cinema and won him the Best New Filmmaker award at the MTV Movie Awards. As silly as a distinction from the network that is currently airing “Jersey Shore” may sound now, MTV used to be pretty good at predicting new filmmaking talent. Fellow winners of this award include Christopher Nolan, Spike Jonze, and Sofia Coppola. His most recent film, Moonrise Kingdom recently premiered as the Opening Night Film at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
The main criticism I hear of Anderson’s work is that it is repetitive, mostly in style. This critique is, to me, actually a compliment of sorts. A young writer/director who has his own self-possessed style immediately out of the gate is the something that makes every wannabe director in film school seethe with envy. The lingering static shots, the almost universal asocial behavior of characters, the picture-perfect set pieces; it just wouldn’t be a Wes Anderson movie without these things. In truth, the actual content of the films differs wildly from one to the next; a buddy road movie, a tale of teen angst, a family drama, a deep sea diving adventure, an international travelog with estranged brothers, a groundbreaking animated children’s film, and now, a coming-of-age story about first love. Throughout all of these can be found a menagerie of strange but endearing social misfits.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to change anyone’s mind about Anderson who doesn’t like him, but I suppose that’s never really mattered to me. I get it, and that’s all that matters.