The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by Wes ANDERSON
Wes Anderson does melancholy humor better than anyone has ever done it. Maybe I find his dialogue and jokes so laugh-out-loud funny because they are juxtaposed so delicately with sadness, death, and outrageous circumstance? Or maybe it’s the over-the-top performances of unique ensembles cast as misfit characters and set in grandiose worlds that elicit a nostalgic appreciation of his work? Nonetheless, The Grand Budapest Hotel is Anderson at his very best.
Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, The Grand Budapest Hotel is set (mostly) in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka in 1932 and recounts the friendship of Zero, the hotel lobby boy, and Gustave H., the hotel concierge who is framed for murder. There’s a stolen painting (Boy With Apple), a jail break, murders, chase scenes, love stories, and of course comedy splayed across three different decades, each of which is designated it’s own aspect ratio.
This is definitely Anderson’s most violent, vulgar, and fastest-paced film to date. It’s also one of his best. Ralph Fiennes is brilliant as Gustave H. Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, Tony Revolori, and Mathieu Amalric all give outstanding performances. The real star here though is Anderson, who has built a meticulously-designed world for his actors to live (and die) in.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a fun film, and I have a feeling that it will have more to offer with every subsequent viewing. It has everything you want from an Anderson film: a great story, great actors delivering deadpan humor and obscenities, a fully-realized fictional landscape, and an acute attention to detail.
Perhaps the film, and it’s creator, can best be summed up by the narrator’s own words, “His world had vanished long before he entered it. But he sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace.” If that’s not Anderson looking inward on his own career then it’s a great coincidence.
Absolutely go see this film.