The ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ is narrated by an elderly Zero/Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who as a young Lobby Boy served under Monsieur Gustave. It is set at the beginning of World War II in the fictional 1930s European nation of Zubrowka.
Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is the concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel (where guest come to partake of the legendary spas). The charismatic Gustave is part gigolo, (he confesses that he likes bedding older women), part conman and part surrogate father. He spins his tale without sugar coating his narrative (liberally using the ‘F’ bomb). In contrast, his protégé’, Zero is devoid of any outward expressions. Together, they are an unlikely pair that compliments each other.
As the story unfolds we find that the 84 year old countess Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) is engaged in a love affair with Monsieur Gustave. Upon her unexpected death, he becomes a suspect in her demise when she bequeaths him her most priceless Renaissance painting, 'Boy with Apple' (to the chagrin of her heirs).
So begins a shell game to hide the painting from greedy relatives (lead by Madame D.’s son, Dmitri, Adrien Brody) when M. Gustave and Zero set out on the lam to allude the band of unsavory characters in hot pursuit. Their travels include a prison escape from an internment camp, a harrowing toboggan race, and a getaway in a bakery truck.
Directed and written by Wes Anderson (‘Moonrise Kingdom’) and a story by Anderson and Hugo Guinness (‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’), the (movie stars Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson
The magnificent Grand Budapest Hotel is immersed within a backdrop of brilliant colors that add to its ambience. Coupled with the brilliant score of Alexandre Desplat (‘The Monuments Men,’ ‘Philomena’) and the unique dialogue, is an interactive experience with an intriguing story that resonates on many levels.
The audience is mesmerized by the captivating escapades of Zero and M. Gustave as they awkwardly navigate the rough waters of life on the run. But, at the heart of the story are a lost love, and the gratitude of a young boy who through the wisdom of his surrogate father, is saved in more ways than one.
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a unique movie experience that is sure to keep you thoroughly entertained. It is rated R with a runtime of 100 minutes.