The Grand Budapest Hotel | Directed by Wes Anderson | Release Year: 2014
Rating: R | Run Time: 1hr 40min
Wes Anderson’s continual and much lauded use of artifice and perfectionistic style is not amiss in his latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I have to admit that Anderson’s whimsical artifice often irritates me, but this particular film’s gimmicks are much easier to digest than Anderson’s other recent release, Moonrise Kingdom.
When I was watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, I couldn’t stop thinking of this compilation:
Anderson loves to compose symmetrical shots and The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception. To say that Anderson is a perfectionist would be an understatement. Everything in his films is meticulously constructed, and shot after shot, I’m continuously aware of the construct.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is essentially a story within a story within a story, but the outer layer is only brought to light in the very beginning and in the very end. M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is a concierge for the prestigious Grand Budapest Hotel, and Zero (Tony Revolori) is the new lobby boy. M. Gustave fraternizes with all of the older women who stay at the hotel and when one, Madame D (Tilda Swinton, who’s completely unrecognizable), passes away, she leaves M. Gustave a prized painting: “Boy With Apple.” What ensues is an absurd tale of cat and mouse.
As with Wes Anderson films, The Grand Budapest Hotel is replete with a star-studded cast. There are appearances by Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, and Jeff Goldblum. It seems as if Anderson’s films are as much fun for the cast as he intends for the audience.
As I mentioned, Anderson loves to use “artificial artifice.” He makes no attempt to hide the artificiality of The Grand Budapest Hotel, everything from Zero’s drawn-on moustache to the miniature train-car and hotel set reinforces his fixation on the fabricated. While almost all drama is artificial, most directors work to mask it with aspects of realism. Anderson would rather create films filled with quirky characters, vibrant colors, and whimsical settings.
Anderson’s contrived dialogue and the exaggerated jokes are always a little too hard for me to swallow. However, The Grand Budapest Hotel was an overall enjoyable flick that I’m sure will be well received by mainstream moviegoers and Anderson fanboys alike.