Wes Anderson at his most Wes-Andersonian.
Director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom) has one of the most identifiable styles in Hollywood; he brings new meaning to the word “auteur.”
And The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most ambitious film in his canon. But it’s still classic Wes– the pastel colors, the quick-swivel camera movements, the Futura fonts, the detailed narration, the madcap pacing, the Bill Murray and Owen Wilson cameos– they’re all here.
The Grand Budapest Hotel follows the whimsical and dangerous adventures of Gustave H, a concierge at the famed establisment, and Zero Moustafa– his new lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. Ralph Fiennes is impeccable in the lead role… Who knew the man behind Voldemort had such comic timing? And Tony Revolori gives a fantastic debut performance as his sidekick, Zero.
The sheer amount of fine actors that assembled to make this little film happen really does convince one of how phenomenal Director Wes Anderson must be. Actors like Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, and Jude Law taking small bit parts like these would never happen in other movies—but they do it for Wes. Just gazing at the poster, one becomes dizzy merely reading the long list of beloved actors and actresses in this thing.
The world that has been created in The Grand Budapest Hotel is full of bizarre characters, twisty turns, nostalgic tangents, and whimsical locations. The film is delightful, twisted, insane, emotional, dramatic, and hilarious. It’s full of great character work (a massive feat with an ensemble this monstrous), creative ingenuity (such as each time period taking place in different aspect ratios), and the fast-paced antics will keep a smile on most every face.
For those that might think this is merely a whimsical, happy-go-lucky comedy caper, know that Grand Budapest is Anderson’s darkest film to date, and features some crude humor and explicit language. It’s not really a family-friendly film, but it does offer intriguing explorations of loss, friendship, and legacies for more mature audiences.
It gets a bit lost within its own tangled web of tangential storylines, but the impeccable palette of visual feasts and ornate detail make it a sight to behold. The Grand Budapest Hotel doesn’t quite top Wes Anderson’s classics Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums, but it is nevertheless a surreal and delightful treat.
+ Massive, incredible A-List cast
+ Wes Anderson’s trademark visual style
+ Creative new way of telling a story– through multiple aspect ratios
+ It’s truly unlike anything else Hollywood is making, and that’s refreshing in of itself
+ A hilarious sense of dry humor among tragedy and drama
– There may be just too many characters here
– Because there’s so many characters, we hardly get to know or care about most of them
– The film has a flair for plot tangents
Wes Anderson has delivered yet another trademark exploration of a quirky character on a journey of self-discovery with the visually-arresting, creative, delightful, dramatic, and funny, if madcap, Grand Budapest Hotel.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is not for children. It is rated R for “language, some sexual content, and mild violence.” The language is brief, but explicit, and a rather sexually-suggestive painting can be seen in a few scenes.
© Matt Tory, 2014.