The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
Oh, man, I’ve been wanting to watch this movie ever since I saw the first trailer for it. It just looked funny and crazy and the typical Wes Anderson style of filmmaking. I don’t watch Wes Anderson’s movies enough, but I do enjoy his quirky storytelling and filmmaking style. So the minute it hit DVD, I snatched it up 😀 May contain some minor spoilers ahead?
Like other Wes Anderson movies I’ve seen, The Grand Budapest Hotel is quirky, populated with strange but intriguing characters, over-the-top situations, and an amazing cinematography. Seriously, the art direction in this movie is fantastic: the colour palate, the oppulence of the palaces, the locations used. It really felt like some bygone age that Zero and Gustave H lived in. The detail put into the sets–the hotel, the palaces–were quite wonderful, and the camera movement just added to the quirkiness of the story itself.
The story itself was a lot of fun, filled with craziness and adventure and a bit of suspense/thriller (seriously, was going all “Ahhh! They’re going to catch you!”). It’s funny how Gustave’s relationship with Madame D gets him all tangled up in the affairs of her family, especially with regards to the portrait “Boy with Apple.” The unfolding of events was quite a ride, from a jailhouse breakout to a chase down some snowy slopes to a hotel shootout. The humour was great, not exactly laugh-out-loud, but definitely my kind of humour which I appreciated.
The cast, like any other Wes Anderson film, is exceptional. I mean, he’s used some really big names before, but this movie was packed with famous actors: Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Bill Murray, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, the list goes on. Everyone did a marvelous job playing their own quirky role, from Edward Norton’s Henckles (“Everyone is under arrest!”) to Adrien Brody’s Dmitri (his reaction to the replaced painting cracked me up) to Willem Dafoe’s Jopling (so terrifying! And Jeff Goldblum’s character cracked me up — “Did he just throw my cat out of the window?”). Ralph Fiennes was perfect as the magnanimous, aloof, and poetry-spouting Gustave H. and his scenes with Tony Revolori as Zero were wonderful.
As an aside, and I just found out about this from the credits, but a-ha! When I first saw the trailer, I thought it felt a wee bit familiar with Bohumil Hrabal’s novel I Served the King of England, and indeed it was inspired from his works! It’s a cool shoutout 🙂
I don’t know what else to say about this movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it & I can’t recommend it enough 😀 Meanwhile, I really need to catch up on my Wes Anderson movies; aside from this movie, the only other movies of his that I’ve watched are The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic.