I have never been a particularly huge fan of Wes Anderson, aside from the brilliant Rushmore. After that, I was fairly indifferent to his work, and now, I must question my own opinions, and give his other films another shot, after watching The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Simply put, this is one of the best films of 2014, and highly worthy of all the praise it has received. I’ll allow IMDB.com to provide the plot summary of the film:
“In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). Zero, a junior lobby boy, becomes Gustave’s friend and protege. Gustave prides himself on providing first-class service to the hotel’s guests, including satisfying the sexual needs of the many elderly women who stay there. When one of Gustave’s lovers dies mysteriously, Gustave finds himself the recipient of a priceless painting and the chief suspect in her murder.”
The Grand Budapest Hotel provides us with a few things that are very Wes Anderson-ey, and done so well that this film could, and should, be considered the best of his acclaimed career. Everything starts with a great script, and that has been delivered here. It is quietly hilarious, filled with eclectic characters and line after well-written line that engrosses and entertains the viewer. As usual, there is a unique blend of the realistic with the absurd, creating a film that has its more serious moments, juxtaposed with curious incidents and odd adventures. It is done seamlessly, and is a blast to watch.
Anderson does a great job of directing his usual stellar cast. From the central role of M. Gustave being played perfectly by Ralph Fiennes, to an all-star cast of secondary characters (like Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, F. Murray Abraham, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Lea Seydoux, and even more), Anderson and his stellar stable of actors bring out his strange world perfectly, and it drags us right in for an extremely entertaining hour and forty minutes.
It is not necessary to go on and on about the virtues of the film, as there are a ton of other reviews out there about it. However, in its simplest form, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must-see film because it is fun to watch, and it is funny, in the way that we, as a mature or maturing audience, want to see. It will sometimes go to the borderline of slapstick, but it will pull it back, to create a humour that is brilliant, silly, yet still intelligent.
After enjoying it so much, I am going to have to dig through my DVDs and find my dusty copies of The Royal Tannenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizou, just to give them another chance. I think Budapest has re-opened my eyes to how great Wes Anderson can be.