Asteroid City Review: Expect everything you like about a Wes Anderson movie - SciFiNow

Asteroid City Review: Expect everything you like about a Wes Anderson movie

Scarlet Johansson, Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks shine in Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. Our review…

Wes Anderson’s 1950s-set, cosmic-themed Asteroid City (2023) won’t win over detractors. Not a single one. The revelling in artifice, the postmodernist smarty-pants command of craft, the deadpan performances… the gang’s all here, but the beguiling lightness of his directorial touch often shrouds the bitter pill of melancholy hiding in its deceptive chocolate box frivolity.

Unfolding in a fictional town said to be located somewhere on the fringes of Arizona, California and Nevada, Asteroid City is another Anderson ensemble piece, with Jason Schwartzman’s widowed war photographer, Augie Steenbeck, the closest we get given to a lead character.

It is also curiously plotted, operating a fourth-walling meta-narrative, filmed in colour and monochrome, in which Adrien Brody’s Schubert Green, a theatre director, collaborating with Edward Norton’s playwright, Conrad Earp, are putting on a new production called – yes, you guessed it – Asteroid City.

The pop-up book visual vibrancy of the sets and the pastel-coloured costumes are pleasing on the eyeballs, while the approach to 1950s sci-fi genre staples is typically playful and amusing. But what does it all amount to? At times there seems to be too much going on and simultaneously not enough. What it lacks, quite fittingly though, is a sense of storytelling momentum. Fittingly, because the focus is on a disparate bunch of souls coming together, quarantined by the US government after their encounter with an extra-terrestrial.

Packed with Hollywood stars – of course most actors would sell their grandmothers to work with Anderson – it’s Scarlet Johansson, Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks who leave deep impressions, getting beautiful little moments from limited screen-time. Still, everybody does their bit, and Asteroid City resonates quietly, movingly, when focused on exploring what it’s like being stuck in life and learning to move on with the support of others. Who said Anderson’s films have nothing to say?

Asteroid City will be released in cinemas in the UK and Eire on 23rd June 2023.