Like the protagonist’s profession, Asteroid City looks almost like a series of photographs (some in color, others in black and white), all with impeccable aesthetics, but none of them able to truly “speak” to the observer. Wes Anderson constantly quotes himself, struggling to find the right key to give his latest work a distinct personality. In competition at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.
Tired Wes Anderson
Caliber director Wes Andersonwho over the years has conquered (almost) everyone with his unmistakable aesthetic and his stories halfway between fairy tale and pure reality, is undoubtedly one of the names that the public and critics have liked the most. festival From Cannes 2023where he presented at the competition asteroid city, his latest effort. Unfortunately, however, these expectations were largely not met. The excellent packaging is to blame for everything, inside of which, however, there is very little? Undoubtedly. And yet, in fact, this feature film certainly had interesting ideas and potential. But let’s go step by step.
In the middle of the desert
We are exactly in the remote town of Asteroid City, at an unspecified point in the American desert. In 1950s America, at the height of the Cold War, a small demonstration is about to take place, during which some especially talented children will present their inventions for the first time. Some are accompanied by their parents, including a recently widowed war photographer (played by Jason Schwartzmann) and a pretty Hollywood actress (Scarlett Johansson). Meanwhile, important experiments of powerful atomic weapons are taking place near the city, the mushrooms of which are clearly visible from afar.
Cinema and theater
Particularly interesting in asteroid city (although, like many other elements, it almost turns out to be an end in itself) – a metalinguistic discourse discovered by Anderson from the very first scenes, in which the story (immediately revealed as a theatrical play) appears before us through the backstage, in strict black-and-white tones and in the format 4:3. Cinema and meta-theater thus alternate constantly, but on closer examination enrich the whole work a little, which, in turn, inevitably (and dangerously) ends in a circular motion.
Lots of smoke, no hot
Yes, because in fact asteroid city a lot of form, but little content, despite the fact that rather complex topics are used (in addition to the metatheater, one cannot help but notice the obvious reflection on the recent history of the United States of America), which clearly needed further study. Or, at least, if we wanted to focus solely on the individual stories of the main characters, on closer proximity to the characters themselves (all observed with detachment, with the exception, perhaps, only of Schwartzman and his family).
Aesthetics are not enough
Just like the profession of the protagonist, therefore, asteroid city it almost looks like a series of photographs (some in color, others in black and white), all with impeccable aesthetics, but none of them able to truly “speak” to the observer. Wes Anderson constantly quotes himself, struggling to find the right key to give his latest work a distinct personality. And, wishing to speak exclusively about aesthetics, in fact one could even say that the director, each time meticulously taking care of her, almost remained her prisoner. asteroid city it is, from a purely visual standpoint, an undeniably exciting film, there is no doubt about that. However, looking at Anderson’s entire filmography, and paying attention in particular to what he has achieved in recent years, one cannot fail to notice a certain decline in quality. It’s as if the author is wearily drawn into the (quite prolific, actually) production of his films. As if the same, unfortunately, had nothing to say or, even better, no longer had the desire to find the right way to say it. Sin.
Original name: asteroid city
Director: Wes Anderson
Country/year: USA / 2023
Type: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Throw: Willem Dafoe, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Revolori, Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Steve Carell, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke, Adrian Brody, Hong Chau, Jason Schwartzman, Rupert Friend , Hope Davis, Steve Park, Jake Ryan, Matt Dillon
Screenplay: Wes Anderson
Photo: Robert D. Yeoman
Assembly: Barney Pilling
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Director: John Peet, Molly Rosenblatt, Wes Anderson, Octavia Peissel, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales
Production house: Focus features, American empirical photography, Indian brush
Distribution: Universal Pictures
Release date: 09/14/2023
From the same directors or screenwriters
FRENCH DELIVERY LIBERTY, KANSAS EVENING SUN