Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel Was Exquisite

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was just as whimsical, hysterical, and beautiful as I expected.  Anderson’s film making is unlike anyone else in Hollywood, past or present.  His movies are tiny snapshots into intensely imaginative worlds which transport the viewer directly into the scenes and make you feel as though you are not merely an observer, but a participant.  His characters are both relatable and outrageous to the point of being almost caricature-like.  In this, his latest film, Anderson takes us to the Republic of Zubrowka, a fictional land in the European Alps where a once regal and well respected hotel known as The Grand Budapest has fallen into sad disrepair and is inhabited only by the occasional estranged guest.  It is there that we meet the hotels owner, an elderly and seemingly well off man named Zero Moustafa who agrees to tell his story, and how he came to be in possession of the finest hotel that ever was.  Flashing back to the eve of World War II, we find Zero as a young lobby boy, recently hired at the Grand Budapest under the supervision of the greatest concierge to ever grace the profession, Monsieur Gustave H. (expertly portrayed by Ralph Fiennes).  Monsieur Gustave treats every guest as if they were a member of his family and his attention to detail is equaled only by his commitment to perfection.  Taking Zero under his wing, Gustave sets about showing him the ropes in a dry, satirical manner which is both hysterical and admirable.  One guest in particular strikes a chord with Gustave, the elderly and wealthy Madame D.  The two form a romantic relationship and after her unexpected death, she bequeaths her invaluable painting “Boy With Apple” to Gustave, enraging her evil son Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis who vows to destroy Gustave and take back “Boy With Apple”.  Hilarity ensues as Gustave and Zero set about hiding the priceless painting as they make a pact to never reveal its location and Gustave agrees to make Zero his sole heir.  I won’t go any further into the story as things spiral out of control, Zero falls in love with a local bakery girl, and the hotel is occupied by a military force.  To find out more you will have to watch the film.  Overall, I couldn’t have been happier with the movie.  All of Anderson’s usual crew make appearances including Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel and others, including newcomers Saoirse Ronan and Jude Law.  Anderson continues to show an incredible eye for cinema with sets and camera shots that defy modern conventions.  A remarkably unique story is the result and one that will not disappoint.

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