Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and newcomer Tony Revolori in the latest film by Wes Anderson.
The Grand Budapest Hotel follows an exceptional concierge named Gustave (Fiennes) and his lobby boy Zero (Revolori) in a race against time after he is accused of murdering an elderly woman that had left a very lucrative portrait for him in her will.
Anderson’s films are always adept at mixing melancholy and playfulness with an unmistakable childlike aesthetic. In most of his films, a dark, somewhat sad, aesthetic usually takes the lead, and often you’ll find Anderson’s films lightly sprinkled with bits of quirky comedy. But with “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and his last release, “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson has pushed more into the making joke-after-joke comedies with melancholy playing the supporting role.
This intriguing, delightful tale of a cat-and-mouse chase allows Anderson an opportunity to have the same kind of fun and childish playfulness with a different kind of story. It’s Wes Anderson’s version of “The Fugitive” and it works.
Ralph Fiennes, who plays M. Gustave, (and the movie itself) seems to be going at 100 miles an hour. Anderson’s fictional character Gustave is charming, charismatic, energetic and always funny– Tony Revolori, who plays Zero, is no slouch either in his first film, as he is able to keep up the pace and be just as charismatic as Fiennes.
Gustave is the best of the best concierges: incredibly hospitable, has a perfectly silly and Anderson-ian routine, tends to the elder female guests’ every need (EVERY need) and is bound to go into fits of poetic sermonizing– and no matter what happens in the film’s twists and turns, he sticks to being this kind of person. His lobby boy, Zero, becomes his apprentice and friend who gets tangled into this situation of a greedy, despicable family trying to do away with what they deem a perverted hotel servant in the name of claiming their dead mother’s goods.
Yet, as fun and hilarious as this movie is, it’s also just a little bit sad. Ultimately, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a film about the art of storytelling.
The film opens with a young lady visiting the grave of a writer and reading his book. The book opens with the author reminiscing his last visit to the remaining vestiges of the Grand Budapest and meeting the owner. The owner invites the author to dinner and tells him the story of how he came to acquire the hotel, which is ultimately the story of Gustave and Zero.
It’s a film about the effect these relationships we form have on us and our lives; about how when we pass, luckily, there’ll be someone there to tell our stories and pass it down after the original storyteller is no longer here.
Time will catch us all, even the most precocious manchildren, but hopefully we’ll leave a worthwhile legacy.
The Grad Budapest Hotel opens today in theaters nationwide.