Director – Wes Anderson – 2023 – US – Cert. 12a – 104m
A stage play frames a tale of various characters in a 1950s US desert town, built on the site of an asteroid impact, which becomes the centre of a cover-up after an alien appears – out in UK cinemas on Friday, June 23rd
Iconoclast Anderson’s latest is being sold as one thing by its trailer, when it’s actually something else. And watching the film, that something else completely threw me. What we are being sold via the standard letterboxed movie framed image is, a 1950s family trapped in the town of Asteroid City, USA when their car irreparably breaks down, then the entire (not very large) population including visitors imprisoned there following an incident with an extra-terrestrial spaceship and an alien. The overall tone is of whimsy, but maybe there’s something unsettling and disturbing about it too.
Anderson’s movies have never been about photorealism as much as artifice, which is part of their undeniable charm. Perhaps that’s even more true of Asteroid City than most. The costumes, the production design, have gone for a very particular, stylized look. This is fifties American desert romanticised into pastel-shaded eye candy, and if all that were required of going to a movie were to sit down in your seat and soak up the scenery, then provided you’re not the type to insist on photo-representational accuracy, this would be a winner hands down.… Read the rest