As many will tell you, Wes Anderson is an acquired taste when it comes to films. However, in his own way, he will transport you to another world even when you are in the same world we are all sitting watching a given film. In a slice of Americana, his latest film covers an era of the atomic bomb and an era of bright pastel colors which he makes stand out in his choice of color filters.
World-changing events spectacularly disrupt the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention in an American desert town circa 1955.
This is a review, of a movie, about a play, about a town in the middle of the desert called Asteroid City. It starts out with a mad dash across metro Atlanta traffic during rush hour. After catching a film about a hero saving the world from Nazi’s, we then watch as a group of star gazers challenge the unexpected, circa 1955. Opening scene. If you think my opening line was odd, that’s how Wes Anderson opens his very meta film Asteroid City. This is only the second film of Anderson’s I have seen (the first being The French Dispatch). Perhaps not the best 2 films to start with but here we are.
As is always the theme with his films, much of the cast is the same group of actors and actresses who have frequented his previous films, with the notable exception of Bill Murray who did not appear in this film. Still, each quirky character’s role presented a unique statement on Hollywood troupes and themes that his films love to poke fun at. Or in other cases love to make a statement that is relevant right now, even if the story is set circa 1955.
The movie ultimately comes across as aware of its own self-awareness, a story within a story but the overall narrative got lost somewhere at the start. We never really understand the point of it all. And the film knows it, embraces it, and simply doesn’t care. Each character, each role had their own mini story to tell about grief, wonder, control, and imagination. A visually bright yet washed color pallet helped it to pop on the screen. While in scenes that were meant to be more in someone’s ‘thoughts’ then actually happening was in black and white.
For those who enjoy the familiar cadence of a Wes Anderson film, Asteroid City doesn’t let you down but if you are new to his style of storytelling, you will likely find yourself asking what you just watched.
Asteroid City hits theatres wide on June 23rd.