There is just something about a Wes Anderson film. Whether you admire them or despise them, we can all agree that they are unique and often seemingly original with their ornate aesthetic designs, ensemble casts, and witty dialogue. Recently the director of such fare as: “Moonrise Kingdom”, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”, and “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou”. Wes Anderson is known best for his breakout cult hit “The Royal Tenenbaums” back in 2001. For years the reason for Anderson’s popularity among my colleagues and friends escaped me; it wasn’t until I saw “Fantastic Mr. Fox” that I began to understand what all the hubbub was about.
Wes Anderson’s films and the way in which he writes his characters all come with them an endearing amount of charm and his humor has an understated quality. Now I am not a believer in all of his films, my favorite is perhaps still “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, but I am placing the newest addition to his repertoire “The Grand Budapest Hotel” as my second favorite. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” tells the adventurous tale of two men unexpectedly becoming the very best of friends. Gustave H, is the legendary concierge of a singularly famous hotel located in the northern recesses of 1930’s Europe. With the region teetering on the edge of war, Gustave H. comes to know his new lobby boy, Zero Mustafa, and together they begin their epic tale of friendship, love, deception, and vengeance.
The pacing of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is slightly more deliberate than Wes’ previous two films, but this works in the film’s favor. The narrative of the film plays out in the recounting of a man’s memoirs, although told from multiple perspectives, the story rarely steps away from Gustave H and Zero. To make matters simple, the plot of “Budapest Hotel” centers around the theft of a rare renaissance painting and the crusade for a family fortune.
The first and foremost reason for seeing “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is Ralph Fiennes. In perhaps one of his most dashing and humorous roles, Fiennes brings the character of Gustave H to life with unabashed hilarity and sincerity. To those experienced with Anderson’s previous works, they are sure to be well-accustomed to his brand of humor and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” has it in spades. Along with a phenomenal ensemble cast including many Wes Anderson vets.
One aspect of the film that surprised me and perhaps the one that has stuck with me is in fact how melancholy the film was at times. Anderson is no stranger to having serious themes resonate throughout his films, but “The Grand Budapest Hotel” harbors some truly heartbreaking turns in its narrative. However, they are all earned and counterbalanced with zany humor and Anderson’s traditionally quaint aesthetic production design. I adored this film and I will recommend it to all I come into contact with whether they be a die-hard Anderson fan or not.