Wes Anderson’s last feature, MOONRISE KINGDOM, was one of my favourite films of 2012. So how does his latest offering, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, hold up?
There’s something about Wes Anderson. His storybook-like visuals, understated (yet over the top) comedy and quirky characters all seem familiar…they remind me of my childhood dreams – though I don’t flatter myself to presume my dreams were anywhere near as sophisticated!
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL tells the adventures of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel, and his budding friendship with Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) the lobby boy. Throw into the mix a stolen Renaissance painting, the bloody battle for a family fortune and impending war, and you’ve got yourself quite an interesting tale.
Set against a tense historical backdrop, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is slightly more serious in tone than Anderson’s previous work, but it never gets bogged down in the politics: Zany is still the order of the day.
One may enjoy a game of ‘spot the cameo’, with A-listers from Anderson’s past films popping up willy-nilly: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Jason Schwartzman just to name a few.
The main cast is truly sensational. Reportedly, Ralph Fiennes was not Anderson’s first choice as the flamboyant Gustave (he wanted Johnny Depp). However, Fiennes is exceptional – I can’t imagine the role played by anyone else. He also has an excellent chemistry with off-sider Tony Revolori as the lobby boy. Really a great bit of casting here.
Visually you can expect the same storybook look Anderson has become famous for. With pretty, gingerbread houses and cardboard cut-out looking vistas. It’s cute, it’s quirky and totally immersive.
The script is witty, and while narration has never been my favourite film convention, here it works well.
While a little slow in parts, there is ultimately little to fault with this film. It’s truly something special.
I rate it 9 stars.