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Film Review – The Grand Budapest Hotel

The budapest Hotel


Director:  Wes Andersen

Writers: Wes Andersen, Hugo Guinness, inspired by the works of Stefan Zweig

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody (this could go on a while)

The eighth feature length effort by a director, who by my measure anyway, as yet to make a bad movie.  That streak in my opinion remains unbroken with this masterpiece of a charming tale of a concierge on the run in a fictitious European country between the World Wars.  The story begins with a writer in 1985 recounting the time he met “The Grand Budapest Hotel” owner in the 1960s, who then imparts a tale about how he met the previous concierge of the hotel in the 1930s, yes a story within a story within a story.

The main story arc concentrates on the adventures Gustave (Fiennes), a legendary concierge for the Grand Budapest Hotel, who after a short interview befriends Zero (Revolori), a refugee bellboy, whose country no longer exists. Gustave is a flamboyant, cultured, and authorative man in his mid 50s, who when not meticulously running the hotel, is intimate with its older richer female patrons.  One such patron (Tilda Swinton) is deeply in love with Mr Gustave and imparts an incredibly valuable painting upon her dying, prompting her son (Brody) to accuse Gustave of murder and so the adventure begins.

There really is no need to go into more detail of the plot than the above introduction, it’s full of well crafted twists and turns and requires to be watched rather vulgarly synopsised.  Suffice it to say, that if anyone has seen a Wes Andersen film before, will know exactly what type of film is being offered here. There is a style that is entirely his own, sharp wit laden dialogue, storybook chapter format, characters that bear no resemblance to real life, a fantastical fairy tale plot (that’s light with a few moments of tragedy to reawaken the senses), and a commentary on a theme usually relating to loss (loss of youth, loss of the age of adventure, loss of innocence etc.).  That is not to say all Wes Andersen films are the same, in the same way that the Brothers Grimm tales (though collected) are similarly told but are different stories. 

The movie is fast paced though two hours in length and wonderfully shot with fantastic open sets and animated far shots.  While it mainly focuses on the relationship of four main characters, it is more than amply supported by just about every main stream star in Hollywood who’s ever done a turn on the independent scene. I mean this thing is oozing with cameos, usually falling on top of one another, sometimes even unnoticed.              

As with Wes Andersen latest offerings the humour is more subdued to nuanced wit than his earlier works, but there’s plenty to laugh at here.  The story is wonderfully told and inspiringly original, by all means go see this film soon!

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