Not sure what I can say about this film, other than I was too quick to judge it. I’ve never quite got the measure of director Wes Anderson. I have fond memories of “The Royal Tenenbaums”, but I think then it may have been the galaxy of famous actors in it, and now it might be nostalgia playing its part. I might give it another go soon.
“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” I remember less fondly, though (and I forget he directed this), “Fantastic Mr Fox” is superb and I recommend you watch it right away. But needless to say, Wes has a distinctive style, and can attract big-named actors like flypaper.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, set in the fictitious and mountainous nation of Zubrowka, it recounts a period in the life of the titular hotel’s renowned concierge, Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), as told by his apprentice Zero (Tony Revolori, who curiously doesn’t have a Wikipedia page yet). After a wealthy customer (a dessicated Tilda Swinton) dies and bequeathes something of great value to her beloved Gustave, her outraged family take every chance to settle the matters of the deceased’s estate in their favour.
It’s a bit of a caper, and for the most part you just have to sit back and enjoy it. The conclusion isn’t spectacular, but it suffices to finish the film. The journey itself is just a series of events, but I think the way it’s all presented is the key to enjoying the film.
The alpine backdrops are astounding, the sets vibrant and precisely arranged. It’s just a joy to watch it really. Wes seems rather keen on his pivoting camera angles, rotating the field of view by 90 degrees so often that I found myself doing it myself after the film. Smooth and clean, it might get on some peoples’ nerves but I rather like it.
As a bit of a farce, the film doesn’t expect much of its varied cast; they just have to turn up, define their characters as well as they can in their short screen time, and deliver the colourful and verbose script in quick bursts. A bit deadpan but it sort of works for me. I won’t start naming names really, they all fitted together brilliantly (except I still hate Owen Wilson).
So that’s about it, certainly up there among the best of the admittedly few Wes Anderson films I’ve seen, and even fun for a joyless old rock like me.