So many new movie releases are getting piled on top of one another these days that it is pretty easy to forget that genuine magic of why we enjoy congregating together in a darkened hall or living room to watch images on a screen. Quite simply it is to revel and delight in the magic and delightful joie de vivre that the medium can bring to audiences. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" has that kind of magic and more pouring out of the screen for us to lap up and enjoy.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" recounts the adventures of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revelori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the struggle for true love and the battle for an enormous family fortune; all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing continent.
A truly unique experience, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" survives and even thrives thanks to Wes Anderson's unique eye and ability to craft a fantastic tale of pure whimsy and fun that still has a unique sense of history and real world gravitas to it all at the same time.
Inspired by the works of Austrian novelist and playwright Stefan Zweig, writer/director Wes Anderson crafts this lovely confection like a pastry as the sweetness and light are undeniable but we are still well aware of the consequences of eating this delicious treat the entire time it is in our mouth. The script and narrative are effortless as Anderson's trademark wit is simply running rampant throughout the entire story. As important as his words have historically been to his films, the production design on this outing is simply second to none and probably the best that he has ever had to work with on a project. It looks great and is filled with vibrant colour as we move from set piece to set piece roping us into this ultimately fun enjoyable romp that is taking place while some pretty horrible stuff happens across Eastern Europe. Rarely is their such a balance between genuine hilarity, and actual emotional weight and this ensemble manages to walk that tightrope and make it all look quite easy.
I know it sounds a little asinine to even suggest it, but I still maintain that Ralph Fiennes is one of the most underrated actors working today. His performance as M Gustave was one of the most understated yet truly hilarious performances that I have seen in quite some time as he navigates the deep waters of dead pan gags, genuine emotion and some corny delivery that just fits the style of this film like a glove.
While this loaded ensemble simply has...everyone in it (seriously, check the IMDB page), the one other genuine standout in this film was young Tony Revelori as the idealistic young lobby boy Zero Moustafa. As Fiennes partner in crime, they both kept the energy in the story going at a fantastic rate as they both had a marvelous back and forth with one another. Their chemistry is truly the foundation of the movie and it is genuinely rock solid. The likes of Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, F Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman and Saorise Ronan all get some moments to shine but it all comes back to Fiennes and Revelori who end up making an incredibly memorable comedic duo.
Ultimately, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" strikes a slightly different tone then some of Wes Anderson's other films, but that isn't a bad thing as this one just might be the most memorable, and easily the most fun of his entire career.
5 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and the special features include 3 behind the scenes featurettes, 3 special vignettes from the world of "The Grand Budapest Hotel", a stills gallery, the theatrical trailer and a tour of the town in which the shot the film with Bill Murray.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital Download and On Demand from all major providers.