Film Review: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

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The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014

dir. Wes Anderson

★★★★★

So, I’ve been in an Andersonian mood lately, catching up on his filmography eagerly as I waited for The Grand Budapest Hotel to be released. I even watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou yesterday (for the first time, mind you, and it blew me out of the water – pun intended). So, though I had Wes Anderson’s style fresh in my mind, nothing could have prepared me for how fantastic this film was.

Though much more graphic than Anderson’s earlier films, and definitely macabre in some ways, The Grand Budapest Hotel is truly a work of art. The acting is all around superb, introducing Tony Revolori, who was brilliant in the role of Zero, the Lobby Boy. There were, of course, the familiar faces from the Wesverse, namely Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Waris Ahluwalia and so on, who were just as lovely as always, even if the main roles fell to Revolori and Ralph Fiennes (as M. Gustave, the supposedly bisexual and rather poetic concierge). Still, the whole cast came together to make for an endearing and wonderful experience in what could be one of the best films of 2014 (yes, already).

However, what makes for a Wes Anderson film is not really the cast itself (though it is usually star-studded), but rather the writing and directorial stye. All the little hints of Wes that we love are there, from the wide shots to the close-ups to the animated music, and the dialogue is fast-paced and clever, and it reminded me of The Royal Tenenbaums a little bit, which is always wonderful. It is still very bright in colour – the pink façade of the hotel, the uniforms of the hotel staff, the cakes made by Agatha – but unlike Moonrise Kingdom, where the brightness also reflects the general atmosphere of the film, Budapest Hotel has much darker themes, like murder, assassinations and burglary. There’s no jaguar shark or happy ending, which makes it perhaps the most unique of Anderson’s films.

I can already tell this is going to be an absolute success, or at least I am hoping that everyone will love it as much as I did! So when it comes out in the cinemas next week, you are obligated to go and see it! It is your duty as a cinephile, otherwise you have failed us, friend.

review by Mariana Duarte

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