When I first saw the trailer for this film a couple of weeks ago I came to the realisation that I have never seen a Wes Anderson movie. I was sure I had but as I looked at his list of films I realised that for some reason I have missed his collection of work. So to amend this I decided to give The Grand Budapest Hotel a try.
Set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka in 1932, Gustave (Ralph Finnes) is the conierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and when he’s not attending to the hosts guests he is seducing wealthy elderly ladies. When one of these ladies Madam D (Tilda Swinton) dies Gustave finds himself framed for her murder. With the help of his lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori), Gustave wants to prove his innocence and keep Madam D’s prized possession, a painting called Boy with Apple, away from her greedy family.
I had heard about this film previously but I wasn’t interested in watching it until I saw the trailer which was hilarious. Although I was concerned that all the funny moments may have been compiled into the trailer and the rest of the film could be a dud. Thankfully this is not the case. The Grand Budapest Hotel is continuously laugh out loud funny, from the funny script to the comedic timing of its actors.
This movie also looked amazing, with brilliantly detailed sets and scenery. It was easy to get lost into the background with such intimate detail given to the locations, however the story was enthralling enough to bring me back to the action. The Grand Budapest Hotel itself looks spectacular and is almost like another character in the film.
Anderson has put together a brilliant cast. There is also a number of great cameos-too many to mention. As the concierge Gustave Ralph Fiennes took me by surprised by how funny he was. I guess I’m so used to seeing him in serious roles as Nazi villains, Shakespearean anti-heroes and Voldermort that I didn’t really know how great at comedy he was, whether it’s the physical aspects of his role or the delivery of his lines, he nails it all. Zero the lobby boy is also an adorable character with his drawn on mustache. He is the heart of the film and the film lovingly shows his loyalty for Gustave and his sweet romance with Agatha (Saoirse Ronan).
Although this film is essentially a comedy I was surprised by the serious tone the film would have at times. There was a lot of sadness beneath the farce, especally towards the end. There was plenty of nostalgia for people, places and the last remains of humanity in people. This change in tone may not be to everyone’s taste but I think it helped give depth to the film.
I don’t know how this compares to other Wes Anderson movies but if they are as enjoyable as this one I look forward to watching more.
Rating 4/5 – a fine place to start my introduction to Wes Anderson