I've never figured out why Bill Murray's character tries to chop down a tree in Moonrise Kingdom. Is he hoping it will fall on the house? Does he just want to destroy something?
Though it was never fully explained (and likely left on the cuttingroom floor), I thought the obvious answer is that he was taking out frustration while getting sedated with wine.
It was my impression, though not explicitly stated in the movie, that Murray's character was a victim of physical abuse. As such, it would make sense that he would need to vent on some other physical object, namely the tree.
let's not try to get all artsy just because it's a Wes Anderson movie. his character has a lot going on with his daughter and suspicions of his wife cheating so he's taking it out on a tree and drinking over it. Came here looking for a screenshot of Murray sitting against the partially chopped tree. Any chance someone has it?