This film is a piece of delicate clock work, everything is so well put together and it runs so smoothly. Wes Anderson films have always been ones to look good to the eye and this is no exception. It’s like looking inside a clock; you see all the mechanics working together to produce something mesmerising and wonderful. Everything is placed perfectly and literally every shot is a piece of art.
There are times when you can’t tell if what you’re watching is mechanically put together or if it’s real. The small mechanical models run smoothly with the real life visual seamlessly coming together. The visual aspect is only one of many features that make this film incredibly absorbing to watch.
The story is very much the Russian doll of films; it’s a story within a story, within another story, within another story. It’s like the layers of a cake and in many circumstances this film feels like an extravagant cake; pleasantly presented, several layers, vibrant colours and without trying to spoil the film even cakes themselves play an important role in the film.
The narrative may seem vastly complicated by the stories within stories, in many ways brining in the similarities with Inception but The Grand Budapest Hotel is not as complicated as you may think. It’s much simpler and is very relaxing to watch.
Despite the story with in the story the core of this film is as followed. We follow the adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel in the 1930s just before war breaks out, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting called “Boy with Apple” and the battle for an enormous family fortune. The story also runs alongside the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.
Wes Anderson creates this fantastic set for the film; the hotel itself is just so perfect even in the tiniest detail. The placement of everything in the scene is faultless and the way the camera tilts and pans across the screen seem so soft and calming. It’s like looking in a dolls house. The location is situated in the mountains and part of the city in Eastern Europe. When watching it’s like you are viewing a moving miniature village. Everything clicks together with the film working like a machine. It’s fun to see the little movements on the screen such as the model like chase scenes and the grand enormous rooms that are on show. We see many wide angle shots and very few and probably next to none close up shots. You watch this film as if you’re watching from a window and it really is a true story telling film. The story is compelling as you’re taken through gun shoot outs, chases and even in some cases of gore. The film isn’t loud in doing this but does it in such a way that you get visually satisfied in its settings, its characters and the especially its comic effect that is used vastly throughout.
This film has many comedic bits, if you find yourself laughing out loud more than 4 times at any movie then it’s a good comedy and in this I most certainly did. It’s the dialogue mostly but also the facial expressions of the characters. There will be some lines in this film that will have you laughing for hours; in terms of previous Wes Anderson films I would class this as one of his most humorous and best comedies.
There were so many well established actors and actresses in this film that you could effortlessly play find the extra and easily struggle. Ralph Fiennes who plays the gentlemanly Gustave H steals the scene and is fantastic making the character his own. We’re used to seeing Fiennes play straight non emotional and hateful character i.e. Voldemort and Amon Göth but in this it’s all turned on its head. We see Fiennes play a character that is the comedic centre of the film. The best lines come from him, his timing is dead on and his presence on screen is astonishing. Gustave H has this incredibly camp and very quick witted humour which comes off brilliantly in this film.
Ralph Fiennes is heads above the rest in this film; however Tilda Swinton plays an incredibly accurate old woman with the voice and look down to a tee. There are so many A list actors and actresses you almost forget that they were in it, Owen Wilson is in the film for around 10 seconds and so is Bill Murray. You get the feeling some actors just wanted to have a Wes Anderson film down on their CV, most notably Jude Law who is said to have begged Wes Anderson to be in this film. Despite every actor under the sun being in this film no one really shines out apart from Ralph Fiennes. Fairly unknown actor Tony Revolori who plays Zero is okay but given he has to portray a character that barely shows emotion in the first half of the film he was always going to have little to offer. This goes for the rest of the cast, given that many barely had time on the screen, no one did badly but no one apart from Finnes did brilliantly.
The film was a joy to see and it is definitely re-watchable. When you watch the film you definitely get the sense that you are being entertained and you are watching a piece of art. Wes Anderson creates his own little model village and you find yourself hooked onto the screen admiring the minor details. You will find yourself laughing a lot more then you think you would, especially at the Ralph Fiennes moments. It was an entertaining plot and has an unusual yet brilliant set of characters. One of Wes Andersons finest and definitely one of the best films of the year so far.
The Grand Budepest Hotel Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fg5iWmQjwk