Asteroid City (2023)

A Review in Film - 02/07/2023

  • Director: Wes Anderson
  • Writers: Wes Anderson - Roman Copolla
Wes Anderson's newest pastel palette attack film, 'Asteroid City', has finally been released to the delight of self-adulating film auteurs. Teeming with Anderson's actor mainstays and introducing fresh faces who deliver lines with the same rapid, deadpan expressions, 'Asteroid City' treads the familiar path of Anderson's previous movie, 'The French Dispatch', by being worse than his last and exceeds it by being more Wes Anderson than ever.

The film chronicles a televised production of a play, 'Asteroid City', set in a retro-futuristic 1950s dustbowl town built around a crater. However, as the narrative unfolds, it becomes evident that the plot is so insubstantial, you could whisper through it. Leaning heavily into the quintessential 'Wes Anderson vibe', Anderson risks becoming a parody of himself and while each shot is beautifully framed, brimming with intricate details, it seems he might be better suited to visual architecture rather than spending his creative energy points on screenplay writing. The film is nearly devoid of character development and meaningful plot evolution, with its only apparent substance being its imagery. If every character suddenly switched roles and read another's lines, still within their character, I'd have not had a second thought about it. Everyone and everything was the same. It was the film equivalent of eating a well-presented leafy salad. Looks great but leaves you feeling empty and lost. 

Film is art. Art is moving. However, the only thing that moved me while watching Asteroid City was the weird cinema seats at the venue I was in. I've seen plenty of movies that convey the idea of 'meaningless' in a much more poignant and dare I say it, meaningful way, but when style gets in the way of substance, you're left with an overly long and slickly pretentious cinematic affair that shatters the limits of the viewer's patience. 

I see reviews online by people stating that those that "don't get it" are simply uneducated pondlife and would be better suited to watching mindless action films whilst scrolling on their phones or something akin to that - and to those that praise this film and thought this movie was anything deeper than a small puddle, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Asteroid City made me wish the cinema I was in would actually be hit by city made of asteroids