Features | The Grand Budapest Hotel | Review

by Euan Simpson

Wes Anderson is one the few filmmakers currently that one can say is truly unique and pioneering. His films all contain a certain quality of quirkiness both visually and story wise. This is why he can be such a polarizing filmmaker with some people finding them too quirky to be enjoyable. The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson’s newest film and perhaps both his best and most accessible.

I would just like to point out that I am a Wes Anderson ‘connoisseur’. I love his films and I think he is one of the greatest current filmmakers out there. The Grand Budapest Hotel is my first Wes Anderson film I have seen on the big screen and it is perhaps the most fun I have had in the cinema. Throughout the film I could hardly contain my pure joy at this wonderful funny and silly piece of art.

The Grand Budapest Hotel takes place within four time frames. The main time frames are 1932 Zubrowka, a poor central European country on the brink of war and The Grand Budapest Hotel during the 1960’s. The 1980’s and the present day are also featured but appear only a few scenes. What is unique is that visually you can see the different time zones not due to the costume design but due to the aspect ratio. The film uses three of them which is something I haven’t seen happen in a film on this scale.

The story is about Zero Moustafa recalling his time as a lobby boy and protégé to famed concierge M. Gustave H and their adventure when a dead lover leaves a priceless painting to him. The story, like most of Wes Anderson’s work, is both funny and contains its various quirks. However one thing I noticed was how there was much less pauses and awkward moments compared to his other work. This is also much funnier than his other work with a focus on comedy rather than drama. That isn’t to say that this film is a great departure from what he is famed for this is defiantly a Wes Anderson film and one of his greatest.

As per usual the cast list is staggering. Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Jeff Goldblum all appear. These are not even just small cameos as they all important to the story. Even with this stellar cast newcomer Tony Revolori manages to hold his own as a young Zero. He acts brilliantly next to Ralph Fiennes who is dazzling in his comedic role. They both provide the biggest laughs consistently with some hilarious moments coming from their absurd adventures.

Overall, this film is Wes Anderson at his finest. It is perhaps his most accessible film since The Royal Tenenebaums and one the funniest films of his to date. I have no doubt that this film will be within the top 5 of my favorite films of this year.  It is funny, visually brilliant, sounds great, well acted and overall a wonderful experience. If you haven’t seen a Wes Anderson film before but want to see something different from the other stuff in the cinema go see this film. It is like watching a stylized painting come to life in front of your eyes. Go see this film, it is important that films like these are successful so more unique films like this are made.

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