Quick Hit: An extraordinary Wes Anderson feature that raises the stakes of humor, while continuing the director/writers stellar series of films.
I stated in my Quick Hit that this was a Wes Anderson film, and I don’t think I could have said something that would have made more sense. Sometimes the best descriptions are ones that reflect the particular style of a director – something can be Tim Burton-esque, for instance. However, you may be able to imitate things like Inarritu’s long tracking shots, or Spielberg’s camerawork, but you can never make a film that is exactly like them. So, you can tell from the beginning scenes, as we begin to follow the China-doll of narrators downward, that this is a Wes Anderson film.
that isn’t distracting. They instead add to the humor of the story, while giving us some insight into the characters.
And what a character Gustave is. His love for the Budapest Hotel is immense, and it shows. But he also shows love for Zero, as well as other characters like Agatha (played in a fun turn by Brookyln’s Saorise Ronan). You can’t help but love him, even when he says things that are ridiculous. I really didn’t know that Ralph Fiennes had this kind of range and humor, but I’m delighted to say that he owns the role, and I honestly don’t know if the film could be anywhere near the same without him. His delivery on some of the lines in the film is perfect, and left me laughing out loud many times. There are so many of these lines that it will take multiple viewings to catch them all.
Other Anderson characters step into roles, sometimes for a few lines, sometimes just in the background as a cameo. Some of the best side characters are Willem Dafoe, playing the sadistic henchman Jopling, Adrien Brody as jealous son Dmitiri, and Tilda Swinton as Madame D. Stopping there is an injustice to Jeff Goldblum’s Deputy Kovacs, Harvey Keitel’s Ludwig, and Edward Norton’s Henckels. They are all tremendous character additions, and all are fun and distinct.
But all throughout the film, through all the character and scene changes, the stellar camerawork never stops. The plates Anderson has in the air never stop spinning, and the beauty of the whole film – including the Budapest itself-is always realized. The costumes, makeup, score, and production design for this film all won Oscars, and I can hardly say there is a film less deserving. It's amazing the way everything was portrayed as delightful to the eyes, while at the same time shading the "villians" (antagonists is probably a better term) in dark colors and makeup.
A friend of mine (Ryan of “Dinner and a Movie” actually) once told me that Anderson’s movie Rushmore was the film that really got him interested in, well, film. I think that this movie will continue to inspire other people get into film, because it’s just wonderful. I laughed, I felt deeply, and more than anything, I cared.
I give The Grand Budapest Hotel an “A+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"