Wes Anderson’s style is immediately recognizable. Practically mathematical symmetry of the frame, soft colors and textured characters make it possible to understand instantly that you are watching the work of one specific director. At the same time, Anderson himself does not seek to overload his films. For him, they became just a way to express emotions and create an incorruptible mold of a mental state. “Asteroid City” was not a revelation in this respect. Read more about Wes Anderson’s new work in our review below.
“Asteroid City” / Asteroid City
Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Edward Norton
Release year 2023
The events of the film take place in a fictional American town in the middle of the desert in 1955. An asteroid once fell here. Since then, the town has become a kind of gathering center for all lovers of science and astronomy, for whom a separate annual festival is held here. Another such festival will become the center of strange and absurd events that can affect the lives of all those present. And they may not affect, because life is a strange thing.
“Asteroid City” from the very first frames literally screams (although in the case of Anderson’s works – rather hums melodiously) with style and sublimity. There is never anything superfluous in the frame. Every camera movement, every scenery and scene is in its place, as if cinematography was invented for them. Your aesthetic senses will definitely be satisfied while watching. Maybe you will even discover them in yourself for the first time – that’s how good it is.
Let’s immediately answer one question that may arise in attentive viewers only if one look at the poster of the film with all its actresses and actors. After all, some of the characters on it are black and white, as if insets from a completely different work. And now it will not be a spoiler, but an important moment for understanding the essence of cinema.
“Asteroid City” is not exactly a film about the titular city in which an asteroid fell. This is primarily an empirical story of writing a play about a city in which an asteroid fell. The city and the asteroid here are only scenery and metaphors for a simple drama of human destinies, which, moreover, strongly resonates with the personal stories of the author of the play and the acting troupe.
To some extent, Anderson in his new film explores the interaction of the subjective and the objective in the creation of works of art. However, without excessive pathos and excessively complex structures.
Asteroid City always focuses on people, not circumstances. And here another bright advantage of the film comes to the fore — its outstanding cast. Anderson gathered a wide variety of stars of the first magnitude. Scarlett Johansson, Steve Carell, Willem Dafoe, Bryan Cranston are just a few examples. Everyone in “City of Asteroids” is extremely pleasant to look at.
Perhaps not all the characters here get the proper development of their storylines, and some lack screen time. But it is always worth remembering that each replica here is part of a single story. That is, we do not consider the victories and defeats of individual people, but absorb all of them completely in the context of the development of the play. This is an attempt at a metanarrative.
“Asteroid City” is literally filled to the brim with sublime melancholy.
Anderson doesn’t throw sad phrases directly in your face, but the general sense of longing is able to capture your heart by the middle of the film. The tragedy of the creator, the actors and the work as an independent living entity does not deliberately try to make you cry. On the contrary, everything is perceived in a positive tone. And still, there is nowhere to escape from high sadness here.
The atmosphere of the city itself helps him especially. Desert landscapes and vintage music perfectly complement the moderate sophistry of the characters’ dialogues. The style of retrofuturism, in principle, turned out to be excellent for the film.
And it seems that there is absolutely nothing bad in the movie. The only thing is that Anderson did not seem to try to do something new for himself this time. All elements of the film are at a very high level, so fans of the director’s work (and simply beautiful cinematography) will be delighted. But if you did not perceive Anderson’s approach to this in any way, then “Asteroid City” will clearly not convince you.
Wes Anderson made an emotional film again. Which you can try to evaluate from the point of view of meanings and objective judgments, because there is room for interpretations in history. But you should not do this, because then the ephemeral magic of cinema will be destroyed. “Asteroid City” is by no means about clear thoughts.
But it is about the muffled sound of the radio, through which American classics are heard. About stylish, exclusively American suits. About the magic of science and its absolute inability to explain the simple truths of everyday life.
About absurd meetings and no less absurd partings, after which only bitterness remains. It is so imperceptible that it is quite possible to go further with it, replacing people, places and goals. But so important that it will change you forever.
However, “Asteroid City” can be perceived simply as a beautiful kaleidoscope of famous actors in a pleasant setting. And in that case, it’s still a great movie.
Pros: outstanding cinematography and direction in every frame and every scene; a wonderful cast that entices with big names and captivates with first-class acting; interesting setting and pleasant meanings within the plot; a setting that pleases the eye and the soul Cons: Wes Anderson did not invent anything new here, so the film will not make you fall in love with the director if you did not like his work before; some excess of pathos and sophistry Conclusion:
“Asteroid City” can evoke unusual emotions. Maybe not the strongest, but definitely sublime and pleasant. Anderson once again shared with us the chronicle of his state of mind. And he did it so sincerely that it is impossible to refuse such an offer