The Grand Budapest Hotel Movie Review

Wes Anderson definitely has a unique perspective in filmmaking.  His unusual style can be polarizing and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is surely one that will once again wow a select group while going unnoticed by the majority.  For the record, I lie in the camp who loves his perfect symmetry, colorful pallet, detailed art direction, deadpan performances and quirky screenplay.  THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is another visual masterpiece colored in with the delightful touch of a child’s crayon.

Jude Law in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Detractors might argue that the film is more of the same.  Rehashing an already established technique and borrowing from the filmmakers own work.  Well, I can’t argue with that logic.  However, when a vision is as uniquely defined as Mr. Anderson’s, it’s a joyous welcome.  The look and humor of the picture provides a constant smile with the occasional guffaw moment.

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

The screenplay is a bit convoluted as it begins from a story of a story…of a girl looking at a statue.  While these are funny exchanges, they don’t serve any greater purpose other than giving reason for the surreal imagery that Mr. Anderson enjoys placing when telling any of his stories.  Our core tale even leaves the widescreen format for the box TV version that we used to be so accustomed to when watching movies at home.

M. Gustave (played to perfect flamboyant humor by Ralph Fiennes) is a masterful concierge who keeps all the elderly wealthy women at their happiest inside The Grand Budapest Hotel. Taking place throughout Europe during the 1930’s, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL doesn’t restrict itself with mapping or time restraints.  War is on the horizon and government regulations are dangerous.  When Gustave inherits a priceless painting, the dead owner’s family seeks to take what they believe is rightfully theirs.  Gustave and his trusty bellboy Zero (Tony Revolori) must navigate their way through many deathly dilemmas to prove their own innocence and to keep what is rightfully his.

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Perhaps too much is going on in THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, as stories and subplots pile upon one after another, losing what I believe should be the real focus in a film like this and that is humor.  Full of character and charm the film still works, but it could have worked better.  The cast is impressive.  Just about anyone who has ever been in a Wes Anderson film shows up at some point and the newcomers are all fabulous additions.  Joining the exquisite Mr. Fiennes is Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson just to name a few.

Adrien Brody in The Grand Budapest Hotel

My recommendation is simple, If you are a fan of Wes Anderson films, chalk THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL up as another success.  If you are not a fan, this one will be no different.  For me, well I probably rank the film in the bottom half of the writer/director’s filmography.  Not as funny as 2001’s THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS or as sweet as 2012’s MOONRISE KINGDOM, but still more entertaining than the tedious THE DARJEELING LIMITED.   Even so, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, while a bit more crass, still delivers Anderson’s usual unusual enjoyable style.


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