Wes Anderson has a fan base for his films, but there is something about The Grand Budapest Hotel that will simultaneously please them, while it is also uniquely universal.
From Rushmore through his most recent Moonrise Kingdom, one knows when you are watching an Anderson film. The shot framing, the dialogue and that ensemble cast that he possesses that reminds us of an ever-expanding repertory theater company... it all screams “Wes Anderson.”
The Grand Budapest Hotel has all of those… and so much more.
Ralph Fiennes, new to the Anderson ensemble, stars as Gustav H. He is a legendary concierge at the titular establishment. His story is central to the film, but it expands much beyond that to cover fascism, romance, war, freedom, family infighting, mentorship, loyalty and delightful confections.
We don’t want to give away too much of the plot or even what it entails or how it is told, for fear of denying a viewer the utter joy that is the entire The Grand Budapest Hotel experience. But, there is a murder and Gustav H. is considered a suspect. The elderly woman who owned the hotel was mysteriously poisoned and her family suspects that Gustav did it. See, our world’s best concierge has an affinity for rich older ladies and they quite enjoy him as well.
There is also an absolute charm to this picture that arises from a mentorship between Gustav and a lobby boy, played by Tony Revolori… who is a revelation. The mentor takes the mentee under his wing and teaches him everything about pleasing the high-end clientele that frequent their hotel. It is charming to witness as the mentorship evolves over the years into a dear friendship, one that will be challenged not only by the murder charge, but also the winds of World War II that are knocking on Europe’s door.
Anderson's regular performers astound in their roles, from Jeff Goldblum and Edward Norton to Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. And as can be seen in The Grand Budapest Hotel trailer, the supremacy of the cast does not stop there. Just a sampling: Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, F. Murray Abraham and Adrien Brody!
The screenplay by Anderson -- based on a story by the helmer and Hugo Guinness -- is nothing short of art. The wordplay between the characters is like watching a ballerina move effortlessly across a stage. It is powerful, whimsical and completely delightful from beginning to end. And the auteur’s direction has only gotten tighter, fiercer and frankly funnier. The Grand Budapest Hotel is not short on humor. In fact, it lies around every plot turn.
But, the star of the film has to be the production design. It is like watching the most extraordinarily crafted wedding cake with colors that subtly pop, lush backgrounds and scenery that explode with the minutest of details. Our The Grand Budapest Hotel cannot recommend enough checking in to Anderson’s latest.
It is, in fact, one of our 11 films that could win the 2015 Oscar Best Picture!
If you are new to the world of Anderson, we recommend that you watch Rushmore online and welcome the brilliance!