Wes Anderson heads to Europe for the first time with this Indian Paintbrush production starring Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, and Jude Law. Gustav H., the famous concierge at a legendary hotel situated in the Alps during the 1930’s becomes the center of a farcical whirlwind of suspicion when one of his institution’s oldest and richest patrons turns up dead, and she suspiciously leaves him her most priceless work of art — a Renaissance painting of a boy with an apple. Infuriated that she left anything of value to anyone else, the woman’s greedy and nefarious heir uses all manner of underhanded and illegal tactics to pin her death on Gustav and to silence anyone who questions his objective of inheriting every penny of her estate, leaving Gustav’s trusted lobby boy Zero to clear Gustav’s name and prove that the grand lady’s killer is none other than her own son.
As every bit as Grand as it isn’t Budapest, more like Zubrowka, a fictional European country dreamed up by Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest hotel, directed by the famed Wes Anderson has received widespread critical acclaim for numerous reasons such as the films visual style as well as Anderson’s screenplay/direction. The film itself almost has a satisfying feeling to it which quick cinematography and a fast pace to the film. The reviews were for the large part positive with it scoring 8.4/10 on Rotten Tomato, a fairly hard site to crack. So what makes this film so special? Well continue to find out…
There are a few standout performances in the film, mainly coming from Ralph Fiennes who takes one of the lead roles in the film as Monsieur Gustave H. as well as his young bellhop, Zero Moustafa, playing by Tony Revolori. Other notable appearances come from, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, William Dafoe and the lovely Saoirse Ronan who takes the role of Zero’s girlfriend, Agatha. William Defoe created a truly terrible villain in J.G Jopling, with his dark appearance and stalking attitude. In the scene with Jeff Goldbum character and William Defoe where he follows him and then kills him gives me shivers among with annoyance after seeing what happens to Serge X (Mathieu Amalric). In any Wes Anderson flick the cast’s are impressive but also there are some token faces that Anderson has in most of his films such as Owen Wilson, Jason Schwarzman and Bill Murray who all make brief appearances in the Grand Budapest. The cast is probably one of my favourite castings and I can’t fault it, each of the stars in the film play their own part to a T and make it their own.
One of my absolute favourite things about Wes Andersons movies are that he tells the stories through actually story books. This film as well as ‘The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)’ this style is notable in. It’s different to the conventional films that we see dominant the cinema market – it’s different yet it’s welcome. I am a sucker for artistic movies so I won’t try to hide the fact that I fell in love with The Grand Budapest Hotel from the first time that I saw it. I didn’t just fall in love with the style of film though I fell in love with the actual story. The Grand Budapest itself I found myself wanting to travel to. Looking at the hotel from the outside it felt very awe-inspiring and the characters that make up the inside add a layer of authenticity and class, making the audience forget the hotel isn’t actually real! Not to mention Jude Law, who plays the narrator whose voice I could just listen to forever.
The ending is bittersweet to say the least with Agatha and Zero’s son succumbing to a disease, along with Agatha herself as well as soldiers killing Gustave for protesting Zero’s arrest and not to mention the hotel being demolished. It’s not exactly the best ending that as an audience we could have hoped for but it’s the one we’ve gotten. I would have loved to see everyone end up happy and of course live happily ever after but in ‘artistic’ films as such when does that ever happen – very rarely of course. Seeing the hotel at the start of the film we could have guessed that the deserted hotel was going to be demolished as it was empty and ruined so it’s not a surprise but it’s still disappointing.
A scene that really stays with me is Gustave escape from prison where with his fellow prisoners he makes his exit. The whole style of the scene is executed with brilliance, down to the fast pace and flawless escape (Apart from one of their companions having a fight to the death with the guards in the process), I just loved everything about it even when they got on the bus, tackling everyone on there. It was classic. Another one that needs a mention is the society of the Cross Keys – all the members band together to aid in Gustave’s escape in probably the most unnecessary fashion but It might just be one of the most enjoyable! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ralphe Fiennes fit’s the role so well I can’t imagine anyone else doing it, not anywhere near this good anyway, he is a timeless actor where I can’t think of a film that he didn’t fit into.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is an homage to Wes Andersons talents and what an achievement it is. This film really does have something for everyone in it, making it one of the most enjoyable films that I have seen in a while. I urge all of you to give it a watch and I can guarantee now that you won’t be disappointed or won’t enjoy it just a little bit.