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!

4.5 clappers


About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Great review! I’m glad to hear it’s one of your new Wes Anderson favorites. My only problem with the cameos is that I’d love to see those actors for more than a cameo because I love the cast so much 🙂 I agree on Willem Dafoe he was just a joy to watch. I don’t think I spotted Clooney though, I mean that would have been officially too much star power for one movie 😀

  2. Great review, Tom! This movie is on my TBW list. (it is there since I saw the ‘making of’)

  3. I absolutely agree with what you said about Anderson’s progression over the course of his filmography. He continues to grow while still managing to stay true to his personal style. His imagination is infectious and inspiring. Fantastic review!

    • Infectious!!! Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I just find all of his films so charming. In the day and age of ultra violence, torture porn and gore, his films are just so ‘nice’!

  4. I saw this on Sunday and I completely agree with your review. I understand why some people just don’t like Wes Anderson movies…they have a particular style that may not appeal to all tastes…but I’ve been an unapologetic fan since seeing Rushmore when it was released.

    My favorite aspect of this movie, and I don’t think a spoiler alert is needed, was how they quickly returned to each of the people narrating the story at the end, like a speedy recap of how we initially got to the main story.

    I didn’t see George Clooney, so that’s something I’ll be on the lookout for next time I watch it.

    • Glad you liked it Rich. Its definitely Anderson’s most ‘Anderson’ film to date!

      If you look at the shootout scene in the hotel, there is like a half second glimpse of someone who looks a lot like Clooney. It might not be, but it certainly looked liked him.

  5. Anderson’s most exciting and fun movie to date. Maybe not his most emotionally-gripping piece ever made, but still well worth the watch. Good review.

  6. Great review – cannot wait to see this one!

  7. I think I have to skip this. I did like Moonrise Kingdom but I don’t really like other works of his.

    • Really? What is it you don’t like about his other movies?

      • I just didn’t get them. Too quirky characters, I guess. It was probably easier to watch these same kind of characters in Moonrise Kingdom because they were kids. Plus the story is really sweet. Maybe I should have another go with The Royal Tenenbaums or some and see if I’ve matured that way that I like it now?!

  8. can’t wait to see this movie! I was skeptical at first, but it’s gotten nothing but glowing reviews.

  9. Harvey Keitel looks about 93 now – I barely recognised him. He’s still full of beans, though.

  10. Glad you’re a fan! The slapstick of the film heightens the film and is always used in good taste with Anderson’s writing making sure it never feels out of place, and surprisingly never detaches. I thought it was brilliant!

  11. Great review Thomas. I love this movie & personally I think it could be Wes’ best. “Don’t we want singular voices amid all the dross that we have to sit through?” I couldn’t agree with you more!

    • Nice one Natalie, glad you liked the film. I thought it was amazing and agree that it’s one of Wes’ best films. Thanks for reading!

  12. Dawn

    Yes, I thought I saw George Clooney also. You’re not going crazy. =)

  13. Claire Wasser

    I saw George Clooney too. I had to reverse to double check.


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