Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, TIlda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Synopsis: The adventures of Gustave H. a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
Wow, wow, wow! Wes Anderson does it again. I make no apologies for being a huge fan of all Wes Anderson’s work to date, and the Grand Budapest Hotel has just rocketed to near the top of the list in my books. It’s a fantastical piece of storytelling that holds true to every previous Anderson trait, whilst adding a little bit more at the same time. Obviously non-Anderson fan’s will be appalled at the whimsy on show here but more fool them I say.
Wes Anderson has plenty of nay-sayers who accuse him of doing the same film over and over again. The quirkiness, the same actors, the visual style. But that IS Anderson. Why would anyone want him to break from that and start making films like everyone else? Don’t we want singular voices amid all the dross that we have to sit through? Besides, if you look at Bottle Rocket and Grand Budapest Hotel, there is a clear evolution to be seen. Each of his films are slightly more ambitious than the last, adding new elements to them. We had Rushmore, then the all-star cast of The Royal Tenenbaums. Then he added a new dynamic, with some action scenes in The Life Aquatic. In The Darjeeling Limited the setting was India, on a train. Fantastic Mr Fox was a stop motion animation, and Moonrise Kingdom a child romance. All of these films added little bits not seen in previous films. Moonrise Kingdom’s extremely fake looking painted backdrops and scale modelling for instance. And Grand Budapest Hotel carries on this theme, by using what has gone before but adding a few more layers, namely a lot more violence.
Ralph Fiennes played the part of Gustave H. superbly. He was genuinely funny as the camp concierge getting in to all manner of deadly scrapes. Totally out of his comfort zone in Prison and sledding down mountains. Newcomer, Tony Revolori, playing Zero Moustafa was a great foil for Fiennes, and the rest of the cast, as to be expected in an Anderson flick, was sublime, particularly the villainous Willem Dafoe.
If one accusation can be levelled at the film, it’s perhaps that there wasn’t much focus on each character as such. But then the action and story whip along at such a pace that there is hardly time to get to know anyone. And it’s such a charming story that it didn’t bother me anyway. There have also been complaints that the non-stop cameo’s are off putting, which is also nonsense in my eyes. Who doesn’t want to see all those stars popping up on the screen huh?!
Overall, I think Grand Budapest Hotel was a masterpiece, one of Anderson’s best works to date, possibly his best since The Royal Tenenbaums. And I can’t wait to watch it again.
PS. If anyone can tell me if they caught a one second glimpse of George Clooney during the hotel shoot-out scene that would be great. Just so I know I’m not going mad!