Friday, 11 April 2014

Film Review: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014)

“It is an extremely common mistake. People think the writer's imagination is always at work, that he's constantly inventing an endless supply of incidents and episodes; that he simply dreams up his stories out of thin air. In point of fact, the opposite is true. Once the public knows you're a writer, they bring the characters and events to you. And as long as you maintain your ability to look, and to carefully listen, these stories will continue to over your lifetime. To him, who has often told the tales of others, many tales will be told. The incidents that follow were described to me exactly as I present them here, and in a wholly unexpected way.” Which is what you’ll see in the mind of Wes Anderson with The Grand Budapest Hotel. This comedy-drama film is written and directed by Anderson. The film follows a concierge who teams up with one of his employees to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder.

I would call The Grand Budapest Hotel major whimsy. It's a confection with bite, featuring an ensemble (that includes; Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Bob Balaban) led by the invaluable Ralph Fiennes, here allowed to exercise his farceur's wiles. As with all of Anderson's films, the magic is in the cast. Fiennes, with his stylized rapid-fire delivery, dry wit, cheerful profanity and rapier mustache, is hilarious, dapper and total perfection. In the end it's Fiennes who makes the biggest impression. He keeps the movie bubbling along. Here's to further Fiennes-Anderson collaborations. And Fiennes - who knew he was capable of such wicked, witty timing? My praise also goes to the rest of the cast who gave some of their best performances to date whether they are Wes Anderson-collaborators or not. But the praise also has to newcomer Tony Revolori, who gave a fine performance as the young Lobby-Boy.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is as richly conceived as the movie it appears to be. It is a film like no other, an epic, quirky comedy, with lots of ironic laughs and a humane and rather sad feeling at its core. The film is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal – and it shows Anderson has a knack for a good show. The work done by his collaborators shows amazing ingenuity and skill, and the music is both eccentric and just right. Having a quirky auteur like Anderson making this kind of film really shows that, this is really a Wes Anderson film. It’s a self-consciously quirky movie that manages to be twee and ultra-hip at the same time. In an age when everything seems digital, computer-driven and as fake as instant coffee, more and more artists, like Anderson, are embracing the old ways of vinyl records, handcrafted miniatures and basic human stories. To conclude, it’s both a delightful amusement and a distillation of the filmmaker's essential playfulness.

Simon says The Grand Budapest Hotel receives:

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