The quirky world of Wes Anderson has always perplexed audiences, as these glimpses into his mind have proven to be extremely creative. There’s no shortage of outrageous characters and miniature sets that serve a large purpose. His movie regulars always provide a familiar face and the stylized directing will keep you at ease. It’s always a delight to sit down for an Anderson film and I’ve yet to be opposed to one. His latest film is no exception and is perhaps his best film to date.
A young girl walks into the cemetery in the Republic of Zubrowka and places a key at the monument of The Author (Tom Wilkinson). Then, she opens up her book, titled “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, and we cut to The Author telling us about a wild story. The film flashes back to the 1960’s, where a younger version of the Author (Jude Law) meets Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham). Mr. Moustafa tells the author about the Grand Budapest in the 30’s, when a Mr. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) ran it with pride and made it the destination spot in the Republic of Zubrowka. It’s here, that a young Zero (Tony Revolori) became the Lobby Boy at the Grand Budapest and is taken under the wing of Gustave H.
During his time at the Budapest, Mr. Gustave entertained guests of all sorts, but loved his elderly, rich, blonde women with whom he went to bed. His favorite, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), winds up dead one day and this leads Mr. Gustave and Zero to her home to see the body and hear her will read. Her most prized possession, the painting “Boy With Apple”, is bequeathed to Mr. Gustave and that doesn’t sit well with Madame D.’s son, Dmitri (Adrien Brody). From there on out: Dmitri’s bodyguard Jopling (Willem Dafoe) is after Mr. Gustave, Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum) is after the truth behind the murder, Officer Henckles (Edward Norton) is helping the ZZ Party take over Europe, the Butler Serge (Mathieu Amalric) is hiding secrets, and Zero just wants to protect his love, Agatha (Saoirse Ronan).
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest addition to the works of Wes Anderson and I believe it’s simply the best work that he’s ever done. His characters are richer than ever and they’re also more absurd than ever. The plot of the film is that of a dozen little films in one and I loved that. There are so many moving parts (not including the miniature gondola sets) to this film and there’s never a dull moment. This film is hilarious at times and very serious at other times. It’s really the best of all quirky worlds.
Ralph Fiennes is the standout star of the film and he embodies a character that you wouldn’t ever see him playing. The mostly serious actor manages to make running jokes and drops great one-liners all throughout the film that leave you bursting out loud with laughter. Fiennes recites odd poetry that brings him solace and his love of the elderly is equal parts amusing and disturbing. The hotel that he runs is top-notch and the way he speaks to his employees is always a joy to watch. Some of his greatest moments come with his more serious moments and Fiennes excels with the wonderful dialogue that he’s given.
The rest of the film is littered with different performances from a plethora of incredible actors. Brody is shockingly funny and everything that leaves his mouth is gold. Dafoe is menacing, Goldblum is subtle, Norton is bumbling and clueless, and Ronan is lovely. Newcomer Revolori holds his own among a cast of greats and he works well with Fiennes. There’s also the usual suspects of a Wes Anderson film, as the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Bob Balaban make appearances in the film. They use their time well and you love them even more afterwards. The cast brings this strange film to life and they provide much of the joy that you’ll feel as you watch it.
What I loved most about this film, aside from the delightful characters, was the world that Anderson created for this film. The made-up words and the fictitious European countries are so much fun and you’ll spend time trying to process all the weird things that you’re hearing. There are glorious hotels in this foreign land and the landscapes that accompany them are very defining as well. The faux-Nazi group in the film plays a big part in the time that this film is supposed to take place in and it also reflects the effect that the wars had on the different hotels. The historical ties and references were interesting to catch and discovering what they mean is more than worthwhile.
The directorial style of Wes Anderson is another aspect of what makes him stand out in the film industry. He uses miniature sets to his advantage and creates sequences that wouldn’t be possible without the aid of CGI. There are also the up-close shots that play off of the fact that the audience knows that this isn’t really happening. That’s where we can derive the most entertainment from, especially during a skiing scene that highlights why Wes is one of the best. There’s no one doing what Anderson is and there are numerous reasons why people love his films. The Grand Budapest Hotel is everything you’ve come to love about Anderson and then some.
There’s not a problem that I had with The Grand Budapest Hotel. I loved every aspect of the multiple stories and it’s a film that’s directed from one of the master filmmakers of our time. Wes Anderson takes the weird thoughts in his mind and manages to spin them into something magical and even aspirational. I wish that I could live in a Wes Anderson world, because I’d love to know what I’d be like and where I would live. The dialogue is complex and characters are what you’re going to take away from this film. It’s hard to contain myself from gushing about this film, so in an effort to remain professional in my opinion of this film, I’ll say that The Grand Budapest Hotel is the best film that I’ve seen in 2014 thus far and it’s going to remain one of the best.
The Grand Budapest Hotel Trailer