The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Directed by Wes Anderson

We are generally very big supporters of Wes Anderson and his movies here. He is such an original in this time of cinema. And he makes the world a little more bearable by putting everything so beautifully. Yes, he is also repetitive, a little like Woody Allen – making his own trademark once and once again – as Nick said the other day. But he is a visual mastermind. The other day I defended his movie making on FB by mentioning that surface is indeed content. Some people were saying that there is no 'serious content' in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

What then is 'content'? Does comedy by nature undermine the handling of any serious themes? Can candy colours gloss over and drown the deeper current? Do we always need to swim in the deep end? Anderson's characters in almost every movie he has made deal with depression, loss or looming loss, death, war, mental illness, difference and isolation. Yes, he coats everything with colour and there is always a brilliant line of cameos in his work, but calling The Grand Budapest Hotel superficial is plain wrong.

Adrien Brody as the dastardly  Dmitri
Would you accuse a fairy tale of being too unrealistic? Or buy a cupcake when you are in the mood for pecan pie? I hope not. The Grand Budapest Hotel is an elevating experience. It has famous 'serious' actors in funny roles. It deals gracefully somewhere between slapstick and a fairytale adventure. The story is enjoyable and involving in an old-fashioned way. The visual experience is full of joy.
It's not my most favourite Anderson film, like The Royal Tenenbaums or Moonrise Kingdommaybe because TGBH lacks some strong and interesting female characters – but it's very entertaining and good in any context really.

It's Wes Anderson time again. I do love it. This time Anderson delivers a fable which possesses his usual themes: secrecy, trust, family, tradition, hearsay and love (amongst a dozen other things). Welcome to The Grand Budapest Hotel. His color aesthetic is as strong as always, set design ingenious, visuals arresting, these are all sumptuous minor miracles. He brings back F. Murray Abraham to the mainstream (it's been a long time since Amadeus, and oh the neglect) and more importantly reveals to the world that, yes, Ralph Fiennes does comedy and rather brilliantly thank you very much.

Fiennes (centre) as Concierge M. Gustave
Anderson creates worlds that you either fall in love with or you don't. He is the most recognizable director working in cinema today: FACT.  The Grand Budapest Hotel brings a new level of cunning slapstick to Anderson's cinema surpassing even The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. This is comedy and pretty balzen about it. You have to ask yourself where you're ever going to find a movie which has Harvey Keitel as a bald, humble prison convict, Adrien Brody as a physical version of Dick Dastardly, Tilda Swinton as an 80yr old nymphomaniac, Willem Dafoe parodying himself (his villain being one part his Nosferatu and one part Bobby Peru from Wild At Heart) and Jeff Goldblum resurrected convincingly from TV hell. Yes, this and lots more happens in the The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Jeff Goldblum (and cat)
What else do you want? Cameos from Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jude Law (more than a cameo), Edward Norton, Tom Wilkinson, Jeffrey Shwartzman to name a few...The Grand Budapest Hotel also introduces Tony Revolori to our screens as the hero (kind of) and he is excellent. Wes Anderson tries to deliver a message of tolerance, which is perhaps heavy handed but most welcome all the same. But the real revelation is Ralph Fiennes. Yes, he's always good, but here he excelles as the world's most appreciated concierge  M. Gustave. Treat yourself, Wes Anderson delivers another gem.


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