The question when you’re about to watch a Wes Anderson film is “how much of a Wes Anderson film is it going to be?” In the case of Asteroid City, the answer is about as Wes Anderson as feasibly imaginable.
Framed as play where one’s imagination is relieved of the usual task of filling in dramatic locations, it gives a history of itself in black and white with Edward Norton as its playwright and Jason Schwartzman and Scarlett Johansson as the leads in the town of Asteroid City, where an astronomy convention is being held for gifted youngsters.
It’s hard to describe what actually happens in Asteroid City in terms of overarching plot points, but it’s a seamlessly affable experience involving aliens, nuclear explosions, semi-regular car chases and emotionally-reserved dialogue dripping with implication. Like his other movies, it also has a top-tier ensemble cast too long to list, with many great performers deliberately cast against type to very droll effect.
It also looks absolutely fantastic, with very creative visual design that looks like a cheesy background painting expanded to fill a real skyline. You can mock Anderson for his fixation with period props, but you can’t fault him at handling his films’ art direction. Unlike some of his other films which feel more studio-lit, the natural light in Asteroid City really evokes genuine desert heat, giving it a strangely compelling underlying realism in spite of its deliberate artificiality.
Should you see Asteroid City? If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, yes, it’s a fine addition to his catalogue and an improvement on The French Dispatch in terms of accessibility. If you’re a fan of intelligent cinema, yes, it’s very witty and cleverly constructed. If you need a clear plot with clear stakes and clear villains and heroes, this is not really going to be your film. If you’re open-minded, just see it for its humour and charm.
#Asteroid #City #Movie #Review #Spotlight #Report