Writer: Casey LeeWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Moonrise Kingdom", "Fantastic Mr. Fox", "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums", "The Darjeeling Limited"
Since "Moonrise Kingdom", Wes Anderson fans have been deprived for two years while the director was kept busy working on several shorts films. With "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Anderson makes a return from his short stint stronger than ever and floods the eyes of his long awaiting fans with his trademark visual style that would have made the wait so much more worth it.
Curiously told through an elaborate flashback of a flashback, our story finally centers on Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), who has just become the new lobby boy of the Grand Budapest Hotel in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, sometime in the 1930s on the brink of war. Serving under the legendary concierge M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), who is also the secret carnal attraction for rich, old, blonde and desperate lady guests of the hotel . One such guest is the mysterious (and very old) Madame D (Tilda Swinton), who has a premonition that it will be last time she will meet her lover after her latest visit. When Madame D's premonitions come true in the form of her suspicious death and Gustave is framed for the crime, both mentor and protege are sent on a wild adventure with deadly jealous heirs, hounding private investigators, daring prison breaks and secret societies. All told in an idyllic alpine setting and sweetly contained in well boxed parts.
Inspired by the writings of 20th century author Stefan Zweig, Anderson's screenplay devices an engaging caper adventure with a somber resolution and undertone, that is told in the aesthetics of Anderson; the symmetrical compositions, the vibrant palette, and the artistic styling of every aspect of the mise-en-scene. It would seem as though with each film Anderson makes he piles on the strength of all his hallmarks that would give pleasure to those who know precisely what they are getting from a Wes Anderson film. Although it can be a little tiresome to process the imagery along with the unrelentingly constant pace of the caper plot, "The Grand Budapest" should be noted for its uncharacteristic violence but portrayed in what can only be described as a very Anderson-ian way.
Visual aesthetics aside, another major enjoyment of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" comes from its ensemble cast. Led by a brilliant Ralph Fiennes who exudes with comical charm and confidence; and adeptly supported by newcomer Tony Revolori as his unknowing protege, the banters between the two are humorously scripted, especially when they get into poetry. There is also brilliant performances to be found at every turn, whether from Saorise Ronan (speaking in her native Irish accent for once) as Zero's love interest, Agatha, or a foul-mouthed Adrien Brody as the angry heir to Madame D who insists on his inheritance. That's not to say that the short or cameo appearances from the alumni of Anderson's previous films are not a delight when you spot them, and certainly adds to the reward to those who have been watching Anderson films since "Rushmore" and it certainly helps to sustain the high level of performance in front of the precise camera movements.
Complemented by the picking score of Alexandre Desplat in his second collaboration with Anderson since "Moonrise Kingdom", first timers will be in for a centerpiece of a very Anderson-ian experience in "The Grand Budapest Hotel", while followers of his works would leave the cinema debating with themselves if they had seen the best Wes Anderson film thus far. Cinema Online, 07 April 2014