There are some directors you can pigeonhole while there are others are in a class all by themselves. Wes Anderson is surely the latter. He truly embodies the independent filmmaker. He possesses such a unique way to craft a story and he exemplifies that again with his latest offering, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" which opens today, March 21.
In 1968, The Grand Budapest Hotel is long past its prime. A Young Writer (Jude Law) meets the owner of the hotel, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who tells him the story of how he became the owner of the property. The story then shifts to 1932 where the grand Budapest is one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe. Largely, in part, to its concierge, M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes).
Gustave takes the new lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) under his wing. Their adventure begins when one of Gustave's patrons passes away and leaves him with a great treasure in her will. However, he is also accused of causing her death.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" starts off with a great and surprising laugh. This movie is probably Wes Anderson's best screenplay. Not only is it funny, engaging and captivating, but it also brings fourth some of the freshest characters seen in cinema in a long while. The dialogue is so sharp that it is a breath of fresh air from the beginning to the end, no matter what time period in which the movie is taking place. It is way to early to talk about the Oscars, but this is so well written, if it does not secure a nomination for Best Original Screenplay, it would be a scandal.
Wes Anderson is the kind of director who embraces filmmaking as a true art form and that shines through in "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Production design, art direction, costuming, cinematography and editing, are emphasized in order to deliver this excellent movie experience. It really shows how well pre-production pays off for a director. Every shot is so well framed that it almost paints a picture. Colors play a big part in this movie, not only for the set design, but for the clothes the characters wear. As great as the dialogue is, the movie could be just as memorizing if you watched it with no sound at all.
Naturally everyone's acting is at the top of their game. Other co-stars include Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and a heavily tattooed Harvey Keitel. If you are more interested in a movie that conforms to an average narrative then "The Grand Budapest Hotel" may not be for you. However, if you enjoy seeing something that stands out from the norm, that will hit your funny bone and peak your interest as the mystery unfolds, than this is the movie for you this weekend. It is rated R for language, some sexual content and violence.