I have decided that Wes Anderson is now on my list of favorite directors. I liken him to the Coen Brothers; even their bad films are better than most people’s good ones, though there’s nothing bad about this one.
I have decided that Wes Anderson is now on my list of favorite directors. I liken him to the Coen Brothers; even their bad films are better than most people’s good ones, though there’s nothing bad about this one. But it’s also fair to say that Wes Anderson film’s are not to everybody’s liking. His films are very specific in style for the most part, and some folks just don’t get into it. Me, I love his quirky, lavishly detailed, subtley humored ouvre.
And you’ll find much the same here, in The Grand Budapest Hotel. You’ll also find every actor Anderson has ever worked with and more. And I do mean EVERY actor. Seriously, just name an actor and they’re probably in this. It’s a who’s who of the acting community. And they are all wonderful. Even those in small roles. You want more Fisher Stevens? Yep, he’s here.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is, despite this wonderful and plentiful cast, primarily carried by the particularly strong performance of Ralph Fiennes. He plays Gustave H, the Grand Budapest’s superb concierge, and main attraction, as far as the elite rich female guests over 65 are concerned. He manages to be both in control, and completely at your service. And yes, sometimes it’s THAT kind of service.
The film centers on Gustave H, and the Grand Budapest’s newest Lobby Boy, Zero Mustafa, who becomes Gustave H’s protege’. Together they embark on the adventure of a lifetime after Gustave H takes a painting bequeathed to him by the most special of those elderly women. It is an adventure that smacks of some classic Hollywood: exciting chases, nail-biting escapes, shocking reveals at a will-reading, and a secret society of concierges. Ok, the last one is purely a Wes Anderson thing, but it bring us to a brief appearance by Bill Murray – and the aforementioned Fisher Stevens! I haven’t seen him anywhere in awhile, then he turns up here? How can you not love that?
And of course, such things are also among the details that Anderson puts in his film. There is so much of these little details in the semi-fictional world of a European Rebuplic of Zubrowka where the Grand Budapest Hotel resides. And Anderson weaves his tale with not just humor, but a bit of melancholy as well. As the film opens we are taken from present day, to 1985, to 1968, THEN to 1932 for the bulk of the story. Then all the way forward again. But no Star Trek time/space contiuum shenanigans here, so no worries.
The pace is generally borderline frenetic, so pay attention, mostly in regards to character. As I said, there are many, and each of them is worth noting, even if they are on screen for only a minute. How actors must clamor to be in one of Wes’s films. Or maybe they just assume that if they’ve been in one of Anderson’s films, they’ll be in ALL of them. Fine by me as long as they all give 100 % and make me believe it.
There are clearly influences of classic films and directors at play in The Grand Budapest Hotel. I don’t think you need ot be a cinefile to feel that. And I also love the scenes that clearly use practical effect models here and there. It’s like a dash of Fantastic Mr. Fox tossed into the mix. If you are in Los Angeles and get a chance to see this at the Hollywood Acrlight theater, they have the actual shooting model of the Hotel in the theater lobby. It’s neat.
I really enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel, and must give a solid 4 kittenhands. I highly recommend it and am glad to say this is the first film of 2014 that I’ve seen that is well above average. I could see this again, no doubt.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, thinking I’d like to see a Wes Anderson movie marathon.