The Grand Budapest Hotel
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolri, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Nortnon, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Wilkinson, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Lea Seydoux
There should never be any confusion about which films are by Wes Anderson. He is an auteur in every meaning of the word, as he has carved out a specific niche for his own distinctive creativity. Like a painter who reinvented brush strokes or a vocal artist with a special sound, Wes Anderson’s films are uniquely his own. He isn’t simply limited to the wildly imaginative characters with his favorite actors playing them, nor is his work simply distinctive because of the brilliant screenplays he delivers; a Wes Anderson film is most identifiable by its look, feel and appearance. Like the submarine world of Life Aquatic, the train travels of Darjeeling Limited or the remote and foggy island of Moonrise Kingdom, Grand Budapest Hotel has its own storybook quality with intricate moving pieces, fascinating people and delicious theatricality.
A young writer (Law) is eager to understand how the elderly Grand Budapest Hotel owner, Mr. Moustafa(Abraham), came to be in charge of the mountaintop retreat–and so the story begins… The original concierge M. Gustave (Fiennes) hired a young Zero Moustafa (Revolri) as a lobby boy, but their adventures together would make them more like brothers. Known for his amazing attention to detail and service, especially to elderly, rich blonde women, Gustave becomes embroiled in a family inheritance war when one of his patrons, Madame D. (Swinton), passes away. She wills him her most priceless position, and the ruthless family refuses to honor her wishes.
Like a painter who reinvented brush strokes or a vocal artist with a special sound, Wes Anderson’s films are uniquely his own.
Wes Anderson, a Houston-Texas native, isn’t afraid of color; in fact, it’s used in vibrant accentuation with most of his films. He uses a dedicated color pattern for each large set, which almost always has its own duplicate miniature. The hotel’s exterior is light pink, the modern day lobby is groovy orange, the spa completely blue, the elevators a heightened red, and so on. The obvious miniatures (smaller versions of big sets like the hotel, ski lifts, etc) are also highly detailed, but the way the camera focuses on them reinforce the storybook idea, complete with chapters. His attention to detail is also extraordinary, and never has that been more apparent than in the makeup design for Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, who plays an 84-year old.
Each of Anderson’s stories/tales/films deliver adventures with interesting characters moving through them. Fiennes is working with Anderson for the first time and is given a surprising chance to be extremely funny; he excels in every scene with short, precise remarks and quips. Most of the actors Anderson has worked with in the past appear in small cameo scenes, which only makes the production seem more expansive, having prestigious names in roles with little to no dialogue. The film’s greatest moments are certainly within the confines of the hotel and the lesser ones when our lead is imprisoned. If there is one thing Anderson’s films lack, it’s emotion, but everything else nearly makes up for it.
A delicious, pop-up storybook adventure.