The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson Delivers Star-Studded Gem
In the heart of Eastern Europe – set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowska – lies the Grand Budapest Hotel; a reputable and luxurious inn praised for its immaculate service. The year is 1932 and the establishment is run by the hotel’s most esteemed concierge, Gustave (Fiennes); a vain but kind man who likes to spend his days wooing and charming his way into the beds of some of the hotel’s richest – and oldest – female clientele.
When Madame D (Swinton), one of Gustave’s richest and most beloved girlfriends, dies, she leaves Gustave a priceless piece of artwork named ‘Boy with Apple’; a gesture which doesn’t sit well with her disturbed son, Dmitri (Brody), who soon sends assassin, Joplin (Dafoe), after him.
It’s not long before Gustave is accused of killing Madame D and is sent to prison by the good-mannered, police captain, Henckels (Norton). With no one else to turn to, Gustave leaves his beloved hotel in the hands of his trusted lobby boy Zero (Revolori) who – with the help of his new love-interest Agatha (Ronan) – searches for a way to get his much-loved mentor out of prison.
Infectious and compelling, Fiennes holds a commanding presence throughout and leads the way as the fussy and the incredibly proper Mr. Gustave, while Revolori, playing the amiable and the expressionless Zero – who acquired his name from having no life or work experience – delivers an equally satisfying performance. Naturally, the supporting cast, which include some of Anderson’s recurring favourites – such as Murray, Swinton, Dafoe, Goldblum and Brody – are all given a part to play and all – no matter how small the part – manage to integrate into the story exceptionally well.
The narrative, which plays out as a story within a story, within a story, starts off in the eighties, then moves on to the seventies before it eventually settles in the thirties; it’s a clever set-up – told from a variety of angles – and Anderson, once again, manages to engage the viewer right from the very start. His trademark qualities, such as his technical precision, colourful palette, crafty dialogue and impeccable attention to detail are all there, making The Grand Budapest hotel not just grand, but a cinematic gem that will for sure be cherished for a long time to come.
If you are not familiar with Wes Anderson’s distinctive style, visual whimsy and quirky ways, then you will probably find the director’s latest cinematic effort a little unconventional. However, fans of his previous films such as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums, etc, then The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must see.