Asteroid City

A film by Wes Anderson. In English with German subtitles.

[Credits] [Tickets & Termine] [Trailer]

Like Richard Linklater in APOLLO 10 ½ Wes Andersons ASTEROID CITY explo­res a mythi­cal Space Age that dreamt of a bright future very dif­fe­rent from the present.

Wes Anderson, in the vein simi­lar to David Lynch, makes films for hims­elf and an audi­ence that has alre­a­dy fal­len for his aes­the­tic and his quir­ky sto­ries and cha­rac­ters.

Just like in his past films, the plot is a Russian nes­t­ing doll of inter­la­cing lay­ers: the came­ra films a recor­ding of a TV pro­gram about the gene­sis of a play and the dif­fi­cul­ties and obs­ta­cles that need to be over­co­me by the pre­mie­re, but the core of the film is the plot of the play its­elf. The props are deli­ver­ed by a freight train during the ope­ning cre­dits, and the came­ra avo­ids any late­ral move­ments which could reve­al that the enti­re world is actual­ly just a paper mache faca­de.

At its core, the film is about a gathe­ring of dif­fe­rent peo­p­le in the year 1955 in a small desert town to com­me­mo­ra­te the anni­ver­sa­ry of the aste­ro­id impact that gave the city its name. The high­light is a rare astral event and in addi­ti­on to this, the best of a small group of juni­or sci­en­tists will be sel­ec­ted. For them it‘s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to be around simi­lar­ly ner­dy peers while their par­ents can talk to each other about what it‘s like having child­ren that are some­what stran­ge. All the gene­ra­ti­ons feel lost and ali­en­ated from their earth­ly lives and despera­te­ly want the­re to be some­thing in the stars that will give them mea­ning. Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzmann), for exam­p­le, is devas­ta­ted by the death of his wife and hasn‘t been able to tell his child­ren about it, to the disp­lea­su­re of his father-in-law Stanley (Tom Hanks). Augie can only open up to his pavi­li­on neigh­bor, film star Midge Campbel (Scarlett Johansson), who has also lost her ori­en­ta­ti­on due to a pain­ful loss. When an ali­en (Jeff Goldblum) unex­pec­ted­ly lands during the cerem­o­ny, it leads to a lock­down as ins­truc­ted by the pre­si­dent as oppo­sed to a meaningful impe­tus. But lucki­ly, they can turn to the wri­ter or direc­tor of this play at that point, and if the crea­tors can‘t help eit­her, they go one step fur­ther, to the front of the thea­ter, may­be the­re will be some­bo­dy who can say some­thing hel­pful the­re. Or they can just not worry and see what hap­pens next. Sooner or later, the pro­blem will sol­ve its­elf.

With all of its exis­ten­tia­list con­side­ra­ti­ons, ASTEROID CITY is actual­ly a sweet and tho­rough­ly opti­mi­stic decla­ra­ti­on of love to the ver­si­on of the 1950s whe­re the­re was still hope for a bet­ter future in space and nuclear power and ever­y­thing, yes ever­y­thing, could be bought from a ven­ding machi­ne. The film is car­ri­ed by a spec­ta­cu­lar cast that have eit­her alre­a­dy been in other Anderson films (Tilda Swinton as a con­fu­sed astro­no­mer) or will hop­eful­ly pop up again (Steve Carell as the unshakeable hotel mana­ger). Since there‘s not­hing to ‘com­pre­hend‘ bes­i­des its per­so­nal emo­tio­nal reso­nan­ce, which Wes Anderson films often evo­ke, ASTEROID CITY is a cine­a­stic gift that gives a cozy fee­ling of hap­pi­ness in many shades.

Christian Klose | indiekino

Translation: Elinor Lewy


US 2023, 104 Min., engl. OmU
Regie & Buch: Wes Anderson
Kamera: Robert D. Yeoman
Schnitt: Barney Pilling
mit: Tom Hanks, Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Rita Wilson

Asteroid City | Offizieller Trailer | Ed (Universal Pictures)
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