Asteroid City – Looking Back on Wes Anderson’s Captivating Career
Few directors have had a career as harmonious as Wes Anderson, in terms of both style and quality. It’s a testament to his consistency that if you ask a group of cinephiles what their favourite (and least favourite) Anderson movie is, you’ll get some wildly varying answers. While some are loyal to the classics of his career, like his impressive debut Bottle Rocket or his first star studded movie The Royal Tenenbaums, others prefer later films like The French Dispatch, or even Fantastic Mr Fox and Isle of Dogs, his two forays into the world of animation.
Though his films are mainly known for their twee surfaces, regularly pastiched by teenagers on TikTok with a reasonable degree of accuracy, Anderson rarely promotes a straightforward optimism or sentimentality. There usually exists a darker core within them, particularly regarding familial relationships; The Darjeeling Limited centres on three brothers and their grief-induced distance, for instance, while even the Happy Meal marketed Fantastic Mr Fox is essentially about a man’s poor reaction to his mid-life crisis. This is also marked by the strange frequency with which adorable dogs die in his movies – Moonrise Kingdom, Isle of Dogs, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic all include moments where a dog is killed, or at least not having a good time.
Maybe that’s what makes the outward appearance of his films all the more touching; they encourage us to find beauty and wonder even in desperate situations. Asteroid City, his latest film, seems to follow this pattern, and for that reason I’m confident it will be the new favourite Wes for many filmgoers.
Asteroid City is showing now.