Joseph Austin reviews Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Just when you thought a Wes Anderson picture couldn’t possibly get more Wes Anderson-y, along comes The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Wittier than The Royal Tenenbaums and as quirky as Rushmore, Anderson has provided probably his best effort yet.
With the events predominantly unfolding in the years between the two world wars, Anderson’s latest tale tells the outrageously funny and wonderfully charming story of M. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes); the eccentric concierge of the lavish Grand Budapest Hotel, and his devoted lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori).
The film’s all-star cast brings together the usual Anderson-ites of Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson; while returning stars Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Harvey Keitel are all delightfully thrown into the mix.
And collaborating for the first time with the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Saoirse Ronan, while also introducing the excellent Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel boasts Anderson’s most impressive lineup to date.
Situated in the fictional European alpine country of Zubrowka (which is actually a type of vodka), The Grand Budapest Hotel (which isn’t even in Budapest) is, by the 1960s, run-down and barely in business.
Intrigued by its history and old mysterious owner Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), a man simply known as ‘the author’ (Jude Law/Tom Wilkinson in the beginning) is told the story of how the old man came into possession of the once legendary hotel.
Cut to 1932. Purple uniforms and red elevator interiors of The Grand Budapest Hotel await.
One of many of Gustave’s older mistresses, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), bequeaths to him a priceless painting before her mysterious death, in which Gustave is framed for murder by her evil son Dimitri (Adrien Brody).
Set out to clear his name with the help of his lobby boy Zero, The Grand Budapest Hotel plays out its whimsical narrative and madcap humour like a perfectly sized scoop of your favourite flavour of ice cream.
You’re made to work for your ice cream however.
Like in all Anderson outings, melancholic undertones do their best to dispel a façade of joy, before being swiftly returned to feelings warm and fuzzy.
Fiennes is fantastic as the foulmouthed and arrogant yet, charming and devoted concierge, in what could be the best thing he’s ever done.
Nestling perfectly into the wacky world of Wes Anderson; Fiennes does deadpan effortlessly while, just like his character, manages to sustain “the illusion with a marvellous grace”.
As spectacular as the film’s performances are the beauties of its production design.
Every shot, and trademark Anderson camera pan, is exquisitely accented by its plush décor, handmade confectionary, and vibrant colour palette, which ultimately gives The Grand Budapest Hotel its most desired feature.
In keeping with the idiosyncratic style of his last foray, Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson has produced arguably his best film to date.
Outlandishly stylish, beautifully crafted and impressively acted, make sure you have a reservation for The Grand Budapest Hotel.