Asteroid City


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Asteroid City
"If you’re a Wes Anderson disciple then you won’t be disappointed by this latest offering."

A couple of years after his last film The French Dispatch, director and writer Wes Anderson is up to his usual tricks in Asteroid City as he explores an anticipated future that exists in a parallel world to our current age.

It gives much needed burst of colourful artifice as the filmmaker paints a portrait of a Fifties town and its inhabitants. The area, in the southwest of the States, lies in a meteor crater and has an observatory which makes it the ideal setting as it prepares to play host to the Junior Stargazer convention.

Visitors including soldiers, scientists and parents from around the country who assemble to witness the inventions of the gifted students. Extra-terrestials (one in the obscure shape of Jeff Goldblum) are destined to crash the celebration - naturally.

Anderson employs some of his rep team of actors, including Jason Schwartzman, while others, including a bold and brassy Scarlett Johansson in a dark wig, join him for the first time. The pair play lovers surrounded by the likes of Tom Hanks (as a grieving father), Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Margot Robbie and Steve Carell.

The director gives the requisite injection of star power (many of them here in person on Cannes duty) in a script that was written in fruitful collaboration with Roman Coppola.

Johansson in the Bette Davis mould has great fun with her part of an actress somehow marooned in Asteroid City, constantly sipping a martini. Schwartzman plays a widowed father who looms into her sights. And Anderson regular Tilda Swinton livens up the proceedings as a batty astronomer.

The pastel colours and the retro setting provide a constant visual feast of the kind we have come to expect and appreciate from Anderson, all set to a collectable soundtrack.

By this stage of his career most audiences will have decided whether Anderson’s delicious whimsical flights of fancy are to their tastes or not. If you’re a disciple then you won’t be disappointed by this latest offering. Anderson delivers on effortless cue a seductive confection that may win over the most sceptical of hearts.

Reviewed on: 24 May 2023
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The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer convention is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.
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Read more Asteroid City reviews:

Andrew Robertson ****

Director: Wes Anderson

Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Brian Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Dsvid, Steve Park

Year: 2023

Runtime: 104 minutes

Country: US


Cannes 2023

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