Cert: 15 Runtime: 99 mins Director: Wes Anderson Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Bill Murray, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law and Tom Wilkinson
Get your hands of my lobby boy!
Wes Anderson is known for quirky films, The Grand Budapest his ninth feature film has now joined the party. It has a phenomenal all star cast, the likes you may have only seen in a Wes Anderson film! Since viewing the trailer last winter I have been very excited to see this picture. So what is The Grand Budapest all about? Between the wars, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is the suave and popular concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel. Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) is the young and impressionable lobby boy who becomes his loyal and trusted friend. After elderly guest Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) dies in mysterious circumstances following a tryst with Gustave, it is revealed that she has left him a priceless Renaissance painting in her will. With the aid of Zero and his girlfriend Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), Gustave swiftly spirits the artwork away. But Inspector Henckels (Edward Norton) soon comes after him.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a Wes Anderson film down to his very core. It has all his classic techniques such as push in, whip pans, camera moves with dialogue, title cards etc. Wes Anderson’s eclectic films have sometimes seemed burdened by the cinema of the past; The Royal Tennenbaums recalls John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire, while The Darjeeling Limited references Indian cinema. By looking back to the writings of Austrian humorist Stefan Zweig, whose The World of Yesterday is suffused by nostalgia, Anderson finds a common soul to work with, and the result is a complex, over-stuffed but frequently delightful film, at odds with modern fashions. Wes Anderson has not only mastered the art of auteur directing he has also made a name for himself as a story teller this is why there is a big line up of Hollywood stars begging to be in his film. He definitely uses this to his advantage as we can see The Grand Budapest Hotel has one of the most colourful cast list of the year.
Ralph Fiennes for me is a very serious actor, but after the film I was surprised. He truly played out of character, he was hilarious,fowl mouthed and passionate. This truly was his best performance for some years now. Tony Revolori on his major film debut was a great supporting role for Fiennes. They bounced off each other very well, it was a great comedic duo. I do hope to see more of Revolori over the next few years, potentially in another Anderson project. The ensemble was stupendous, some very great actors in bit role (many being Anderson players for many a film), Edward Norton, Adrien Brody and Willem Defoe were the pick of the cast. They truly were very memorable characters, that will stick in the mind for a while. The story line was very fast paced, which made me happy. The use of three different time periods in the film gave it that freshness, looping from period to period worked very well. The narrative from F.Murray Abraham truly made the tale richer, I could listen to that man talk all day.
As on any Anderson film the production design was beautiful. Everything was as ever detailed from the Mendl’s cake boxes to the signs in the hotel. I also loved the contrast of the changing fashion of the hotel during the film. Anna Pinock and her team did a great job in the transformation of The Grand Budapest Hotel. The scale models were just fantastic also from the scale model of the hotel to the ski cart on the mountains. Was it a homage to Star Wars? as we all know he does love the franchise. The music was very different to any other Anderson film, as we didn’t really get a mix tape. It was just pure orchestra, I imagine the thought of a mix tape was there. But personally Alexander Desplat did a great job giving the film it’s life. One other aspect I loved was the change in aspect ratio as we were in the 30’s we had the Academy ratio of 1.37:1 and then back to the present with 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. It was a great homage to the art of cinema, a classy touch. Overall this is one of Anderson’s best works to date I would say it is in my top three at the moment. If you don’t know of this man’s work, then I would definitely start with The Grand Budapest. Enjoy your stay!