Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Ryan, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Steve Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, and Jeff Goldblum
Director: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson films aren’t exactly my style, so there’s a good possibility those enamoured with his work will enjoy Asteroid City more than me because this is an Anderson film to the core. It’s bright and vibrant, and features moments of humour amongst the absurdity. But it also boasts an overstuffed cast, thin plot, and is emotionally hollow. These attributes permeate many of his films, so I guess if you like Wes’ work, you’ll like this. To me, it’s another picture stacked with star power, yet none are given the chance to outshine Wes himself, which is par for the course with his filmography.
There is always a distinct pleasantness baked into Wes Anderson’s projects, and Asteroid City is no exception. While it is decidedly less propulsive than some of his more celebrated works, the dialogue is as sharp as ever, and as production value goes, it ranks with some of his best material. However, that same production (and some of the editing) can be quite distracting as the film loses grip on its narrative momentum almost every time it gets going. That said, the entire cast does solid work, and the film’s underlying themes are well worth exploring.
As someone who isn't totally into Wes Anderson’s unique style, I find Asteroid City perplexing. It’s better than his recent efforts, but it suffers from a filmmaker indulging himself a little too much. It's funny, it looks stunning - expected from an Anderson film – and when we’re in the titular Asteroid City, the film is at its best; however, it feels like Anderson had too many ideas, to the point where the film’s narrative structure stopped me from feeling the emotions I was meant to feel. If you’re a Wes head, you’ll probably find more to appreciate than I did.
While I quite enjoyed Asteroid City, this film is the definition of style over substance. Director Wes Anderson, who is notorious for having remarkable cinematography and production design, once again delivers on that front, making for one of the most visually stunning films I’ve seen all year. There’s also no denying that this is one of Anderson’s most profound films in recent years. That said, the film’s biggest issue is that its approach is so all over the place that it loses momentum at times.