Asteroid City, review of Wes Anderson’s new film

After Cannes transition Asteroid city Wes Anderson’s (here’s the trailer) will also arrive in Italy, quite quietly, in mid-September. Returning with great fanfare from the director of films much loved by a certain audience, like the last one. French control roomwhich uses not only the right actors, but also the faces”new“.

Not only Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton, but also Margot Robbie, Steve Carell, Tom Hanks and Scarlett Jonasson. In short, these names are already laying a solid foundation on which, in fact, Asteroid city this will cause reflection metacinematic and not just what might divide the public (once again).

Asteroid cityscenario

We are in 1955, that is, at the height of the Cold War, but far from American cities. The desert of an unknown location between Arizona and New Mexico will be the backdrop for this tiny cluster of houses that gives the film its title. A total of eighty-seven souls gather to celebrate the anniversary of a meteorite impact that occurred thousands of years ago.

In short, everything flows. Until citizens receive contact with aliens, forcing the government to isolate the entire city. In this context of forced confinement, the usual intertwined stories of the many main characters branch out, effectively allowing the city (and the film) to survive.

Asteroid cityreview

Among the much-cited aestheticizing symmetries, as well as the familiar pastel colors, it is clear to everyone that a still from one of his films is enough to recognize the hand of Wes Anderson. One of the most important directors of this century (maybe that’s his last name?), for better or worse, sometimes widely acclaimed, sometimes critically acclaimed. A creator of discussions even before the films are made, as, after all, only great directors can do.

It’s no different Asteroid city, a film that will cause widespread debate and which will inevitably divide both critics and the public itself, into now familiar divisions, divided into four parts. The beauty of cinema is also and above all that it always ends.

Having made these now necessary premises, we can delve deeper into this new work of his, where Anderson takes on everything that is dear to him. From the form now characteristic of every Wes Anderson film to the content, which is now also well-tested, thanks also to the strong partnership with Roman Coppola. Choral stories, between drama and comedy, where the plot is always ready to dissolve into a single vanishing point.

Returning to the discussion started in French control room, the good Wes Anderson reveals himself even more, offering reflections on the genesis of the work, his own. Or rather, him. Characters featured in Asteroid city it is nothing less than everything we could admire until now. From Tenenbaums to the scouts in love with Moonrise Kingdomas well as two stop-motion animation masterpieces such as the widely acclaimed film Isle of Dogs.

Wes Anderson’s cinema is unique, where the author quotes himself in all forms. Both on the set and off it. So how do you come up with the idea for your movie? Wes Anderson tells it to us through the hands of Bryan Cranston, the omniscient and omnipresent narrator, and Edward Norton, the playwright, creating a show within a show, with an inevitable, apparently clear division between reality and fiction.

However, these two concepts inevitably converge. Asteroid city, although they vary greatly between color and black and white sequences. There is enough incipience to understand that with this film the Texas director will show us something new compared to what we have seen so far. And at the same time, this combination is exactly the same as the difference above. Fact and fiction, old and new.

The emblem of this film is actually the dialogue between the main character Jason Schwartzman and the director of the theatrical comedy Adrien Brody. The first tells the second that he cannot understand what role he has to play. And the only possible answer is that it doesn’t matter as long as you keep going. Not understanding, but feeling, therefore, as a certain Christopher Nolan said.

And this is where the essence of Wes Anderson’s performance lies. After the canonical first part, Asteorid City takes an abrupt turn to a much more intimate moment, which is framed in a sequence with strong fairy-tale overtones and which launches a perhaps banal but nonetheless powerful and well-constructed message: you can’t wake up unless you fall asleep.

It might seem something like this if Asteroid cityWes Anderson decided to create a testament film, a work that marks a point in his career, given the decision to contain his entire film in these one hundred minutes. However, the desire to create such a film can leave a certain bitter taste in the mouth.

The constant alternation of narrative levels, together with the stories concerning the very large community of characters present, resolved very quickly, lends itself to the judgment associated with the superficiality of the film. Once again, the usual accusations are that Wes Anderson is seen as a director with beautiful form but little substance. Nothing could be more wrong, at least for Asteroid city.

The film doesn’t want to have any internal meaning, even if it’s about developing the story hand in hand with the characters. Asteroid city this is a film that wants to be felt, that wants to retrace the steps of Wes Anderson’s cinema in all its forms, from its origins to its reproduction. So it’s a dead end that will allow us to wake up and start looking at Anderson’s entire filmography again, but this time through different eyes.


  • Jason Schwartzman – Augie Steenbeck
  • Scarlett Johansson Midge Campbell
  • Edward Norton – Conrad Earp
  • Bryan Cranston: Narrator
  • Jeff Goldblum: Alien
  • Tilda Swinton – Dr. Hickenlooper
  • Tom Hanks Stanley Zack
  • Steve Carell: Motel Manager
  • Maya Thurman Hawke – June Douglas


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