A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
To describe Wes Anderson’s latest feature as ‘deep’ would be far too shallow. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is such a multi-layered, multi-dimensional mix of mayhem and madness of monumental magnitude; one can only marvel at its many memorable mighty moments of magic. With such an elaborate story and such a plethora of talent, it undoubtedly shows that Wes Anderson is one of the most favourable and sought-after contemporary directors living today.
Primarily based around the chaotic escapades of one Mr. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) an eccentric, flamboyant hotel concierge, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is told vicariously though an elderly Mr. Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) to a youthful writer (Jude Law) over dinner at, of course, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The story is about how Mr. Moustafa ultimately came to own the marvellous hotel, and boy what a story it is!
The film is set over 4 separate periods in time, the film begins with a girl walking through a cemetery and reading a book entitled “The Grand Budapest Hotel” which then transitions into an elderly writer breaking the fourth wall, which then traditions to the younger writer meeting the elderly Mr. Moustafa which finally transitions into the young Zero Moustafa being trained as a Lobby Boy by Gustave H. (Don’t worry, Anderson makes it much simpler on the screen…)
The multi-layered structure of it all is achieved seamlessly and without fault due to the Anderson-style editing and methodology; how he is able to pack so much in to 100 minutes is nothing short of incredible. It is very obvious that Anderson likes to as much as he can into a singular shot, particularly in “Grand Budapest”. The ensemble cast and stunning cinematography accentuate the drama and disarray of it all extraordinarily well. (the occasional use of the 4:3 aspect ratio is also a nice touch)
The cast itself is immense to say the least. With names such as Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Owen Wilson, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman making up most of the cast, it is definitely a credit to Wes Anderson and the fact that he is able to assemble such an incredible lineup. Hollywood talent such as this must adore Anderson, hence why the majority of the aforementioned list have appeared in previous Anderson features including “Rushmore”, “Bottle Rocket”, “The Royal Tenembaums”, “The Life Aquatic”, “The Darjeeling Limited” and “Moonrise Kingdom”.
Surprisingly, “Grand Budapest” is tense, violent and shocking at times. There are glimpses of goriness and excessive violence that add an unnerving shock factor into the mix, simply furthering the tumultuousness of it all. Ultimately, “Grand Budapest” is hysterically funny with the fast-paced nature of the humour, the goofy and silly deliveries, the fantastic slap-stick elements throughout, and at times, humour that is almost Python-esque.
This is by far and away the best film from 2014 so far, but the year is still very young. It will however, take something quite extraordinary to surpass this absolute gem. Anderson has yet again delivered a superbly original and outstanding masterpiece.