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Asteroid City made me think too hard after trip to The Light Cinema, Wisbech





FILM REVIEW: ASTEROID CITY (12A) – SEEN AT THE LIGHT CINEMA, WISBECH

STARRING: JASON SCHWARTZMAN, SCARLETT JOHANSSEN, TOM HANKS, BRYAN CRANSTON, EDWARD NORTON, MATT DILLON, STEVE CARELL, JEFF GOLDBLUM, WILLEM DAFOE AND MARGOT ROBBIE

DIRECTOR: WES ANDERSON RUNNING TIME: ONE HOUR, 45 MINUTES

Asteroid City
Asteroid City

Despite being a huge fan of film and a regular visitor to the cinema I had somehow never watched a Wes Anderson film before this. I shan’t be in a hurry to watch another one.

I had been planning to see the new Indiana Jones movie, but my son – a big Anderson fan – persuaded me to watch this instead. Similarly, I shan’t be in a hurry to take his advice again.

The film has an amazing array of talent in it, with Scarlett Johanssen, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston and Margot Robbie among my favourite actors. There’s even a cameo for a singer/songwriter I greatly admire in Jarvis Cocker – but I still left the cinema feeling nonplussed.

I don’t want a film to challenge me as much as this one did. I don’t want the journey home to be a discussion about what it was about, what it’s true meaning was and what message it was trying to convey. I just want a couple of hours of good plot and great acting. This delivered neither.

It’s also billed as a comedy/drama – but I cannot recall even being brought close to laughter.

The plot simultaneously depicts the events of a Junior Stargazer competition in 1950s America, staged as a play, alongside the creation of said play, and draws on the history of reported UFO sightings near atomic test sites at the time.

A TV host (Cranston) introduces a televised production of Asteroid City, a play by famed writer Conrad Earp (Edward Norton), with the play's events depicted in colour, while the television special is seen in black-and-white.

The plot sees war photographer Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzman) arrive at the convention with intellectual teenage son Woodrow and his three younger daughters. Augie and Woodrow meet famous actress Midge Campbell (Scarlett Johanssen) and her daughter and the parents and siblings slowly fall in love .

The other convention participants arrive but, when the teenagers gather to receive awards, a UFO arrives, an alien descends and a meteorite fragment is stolen. An unsatisfactory plot ensues.

There’s some sweet moments but there’s plenty of pretension too, and none of the actors are at their best. But as I said, my boy’s an Anderson fan and he loved it.

Rating: 4/10

By Jeremy Ransome



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