The Grand Budapest Hotel is debatably Wes Anderson’s masterpiece, following his most recent Oscar-nominated success Moonrise Kingdom. The film takes place over seven decades between 1860 and 1930, and recounts the life and legacy of the legendary concierge of the infamous Grand Budapest Hotel, M. Gustave H, and his trusted friend, a lobby boy at the hotel named Zero Moustafa.
The film races by in a colorful extravaganza of varying aspect ratios, telling a story that would normally take around three hours to cover in conventional cinema in just under an hour and 40 minutes.
Grand Budapest stars an enormous ensemble cast including Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Edward Norton and many others.
This film is not suited for everyone. The Grand Budapest Hotel is quirky, eccentric, fast-paced and loaded with dry and witty humor; it is, quite frankly, bonkers. Certainly this film is for those who are more willing to escape from conventional storytelling techniques and those who are already seasoned Andersonians.
At times the film gets ahead of itself and leaves the audience processing events that already happened in an attempt to keep up with the story. The film wraps up nicely, however, and any confusion is dispelled or simply forgotten about.
Compared to Anderson’s other works – Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Rushmore, for example – The Grand Budapest Hotel is quirkier, neater, more emotional and much more profane, including some shocking violence and language – at least for an Anderson film.
Furthermore, the film’s style may be more appealing to cinephiles and sophisticated audiences. With an abundance of witty dialogue and layers of overlapping stories and personalities, Grand Budapest may only be entertaining to those who are willing to try to keep up. Those filmgoers who like being pulled along by stories should stick to mindless action blockbusters.
The Grand Budapest Hotel will force audience members to think, but given the very likely chance of enjoyment, there really is no exertion of energy. If the film proves itself to be a pleasurable viewing experience, chances are you understood it.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the few movies in existence that is simply an exciting and fun experience. The style and character of the film emanate such passion for the medium with an ability to inspire filmmakers and storytellers alike.