First Hit: Quirky, fun, and interesting while blending stylistic filming to deliver a poignant message of hope and love.
The cast is stellar with the big names in supporting roles. You have Edward Norton (as Scout Master Ward), Bruce Willis (as Captain Sharp), Bill Murray (as Walt Bishop), Frances McDormand (as Laura Bishop), Harvey Keitel (as Commander Pierce), Tilda Swinton (as Social Services), Jason Schwartzman (as Cousin Ben), and Bob Balaban (as the Narrator).
The film is about Suzy Bishop (played by Kara Hayward) who is a troubled young girl and Sam (played by Jared Gilman) a young orphan boy who is determined to live his life his way making him an outcast.
The Narrator begins the film by talking straight to the camera setting up the story of the mythical island of New Penzance its history and that a historic storm will soon envelop it. We are slowly introduced to the characters that are living and working on the island through stylistic mid 1960s scene edits and tones which are almost comic, but blazingly consistent, thoughtful and enjoyable throughout.
This film follows Sam and Suzy as they find each other, realize they can connect with each other, and their choice to journey together. Yes they are only 12 years old, but the point is some people feel really at a loss and lost in their life and people around them, but when they connect with someone else, there is a strong and compelling reason to stay together, to live.
Hayward is bold and evoking as Suzy a girl who struggles with feelings and the expression of them. Gilman as Sam is equally strong as the young boy who is going to live his path regardless of what grownups do. Together they were fabulous. Norton was sublime as the Khaki Scout Master who is charged with training Sam. I loved his acknowledgement of the wonderful camp Sam and Suzy set up. Willis was very low key in his self-effacing character who is just plodding along. Murray was very good as Suzy’s concerned dis-attached father. McDormand was excellent as the dis-jointed lonely mother of Suzy. Swinton was funny, bold and poignantly mean as Social Services. Schwartzman was really funny and good as Cousin Ben. Keitel was good as the head of Khaki Scout Masters and Ward’s boss. Balaban was the perfect choice as Narrator because he brought an informational serious undertone that bordered on dark comedy. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola wrote a stunning script while Anderson’s clear vision brought it all together.
Overall: This was an excellent film to watch because it tells a wonderful story.