Big Screen :: The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 11th 2014




The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most Wes Andersoniest movie Wes Anderson has ever made.

It’s just drenched in the affections and visual quirks which he is known for. The detailed diorama framing, intricate sets, stagey acting and model work is everywhere. I hate when people point to an identifiable visual style as a reason to dismiss a director but needless to say, if you have a problem with Anderson’s style then stay well away from The Grand Budapest Hotel. Visually, this feels like the culmination of everything he has been working toward his entire career.

The movie has a tricky babushka doll structure as the story is passed down to different generations over different periods of time, but eventually we land at The Grand Budapest Hotel in its prime in the late 1930s, just as the war is beginning. The hotel isn’t in Budapest, but rather high in some mountains in Eastern Europe somewhere.

As you can imagine, Anderson has a wonderful time playing with funiculars and cable cars and recreating this intricate and particular vision of old world Europe that exists only in his mind. The hotel itself is an amazing set, and we explore every inch of it.

Boiled down to it, the movie is about the relationship between an orphaned lobby boy played by Tony Revolori And Ralph Fiennes‘ M. Gustave H., the legendary concierge of the hotel known for his capacity to keep secrets and bed old women.

There is a fussy plot about a stolen painting, but the joys of this film lie mostly in its visuals and cast which I literally do not have enough time to name here, but look it up.

It’s one of the greatest casts ever assembled, and its reason enough to watch the film alone.

This movie proves sometimes its alright to put style over substance however the best Wes Anderson movies have a real heart to them. Movies like Rushmore, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and especially Moonrise Kingdom, which remains my favorite. This one is more of a light and fluffy caper.

My personal ranking of Wes Anderson movies has The Grand Budapest Hotel somewhere in the middle. Which means I thought it was great, and you absolutely should check it out.


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