Review of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

the_grand_budapest_hotel.jpg The Grand Budapest Hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka is in a bit of a decline when a journalist visits. The opulent hotel is no longer as popular as it once was with the once magnificent interiors now fading along with the staff. The journalist learns that the owner is present and get him to tell the story of how the hotel came into his hands. Going back to the heyday of the hotel before the advent of the second world war M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is the perfect concierge who takes as his protege the lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori). Gustave is well known for the very personal attention he offers in particular to elderly lady guests so when one ends up dying and leaving Gustave a priceless painting the relatives smell a rat so conspire to have Gustave arrested. Completely out of his element in jail an elaborate plan is concocted to break him out with the help of Zero and an assortment of other hotel concierges (including an amusing cameo by Bill Murray).

Filmed in a very simple style this is a very amusing and appealing piece. Gustave is the flamboyant with the straight-man Zero at his side throughout as the world crumbles around them. The muted colours and slow pace of this simple story make this something to be savoured and enjoyed. The acting is perfectly pitched with Fiennes playing to type as the unflappable concierge being thrown into impossible situations. The coming darkness of the second world war looms over the entire scene and yet we are drawn to these characters lighting up the screen.

I had heard about this film but not really shown too much of an interest in it until I had several hours (well, 12) on a flight recently so decided to give this a watch when I could fully concentrate on it. I am glad I did.

Rich, enjoyable and a lot of fun with just the right touch of melancholy.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2014-11-01

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Studio: Scott Rudin Productions

Year: 2014

Length: 100 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Wes Anderson: