HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
   
 
Newest Articles
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
   
 
  Grand Budapest Hotel, The Take your hands off my lobby boy!Buy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Revolori, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson
Genre: Comedy, Weirdo, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 4 votes)
Review: At the turn of the century, in the tumultuous Republic of Zubrowka, young war refugee Zero Mustafa (Tony Revolori) goes to work as a lobby boy at the prestigious Grand Budapest Hotel. He soon becomes the trusted friend and confidante of its legendary concierge Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) who runs the hotel with consummate efficiency, caring for his exclusive clientele's every need which includes romancing elderly aristocratic ladies. One of Monsieur Gustave's ageing paramours, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton, in scarily effective old-age makeup) dies in suspicious circumstances, bequeathing him the rare and hugely valuable Renaissance painting Boy with Apple by Johannes van Hoytle the Younger. This does not sit well with the dead woman's sinister son, Dmitri (Adrien Brody) who ensures Monsieur Gustave is wrongfully imprisoned for murder. As a result Monsieur Gustave along with Zero and the latter's girlfriend, plucky pastry chef Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) are catapulted into a breakneck adventure involving nosey rival manager Serge (Mathieu Amalric), ill-fated lawyer-cum-hotelier Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum), malevolent henchman Jopling (Willem Dafoe), doggedly decent policeman Henckels (Edward Norton) and a jail break headed by bald prison veteran Ludwig (Harvey Keitel). Throughout the mystery remains who has Boy with Apple and what secret does it hold?

Following cult success with early films Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998), writer-director Wes Anderson found himself awkwardly pigeonholed as the hipster indie auteur hipster cinephiles love to hate. Much of his subsequent work has proven hugely divisive although personally one would argue the case for both hilarious stop-motion animated Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and especially delightful coming-of-age romance Moonrise Kingdom (2012). However, with The Grand Budapest Hotel Anderson found a much more receptive audience for his playful whimsicality and obsessive love of candy-coloured artifice. Part of the good will stemmed from the lovability of its magnificently contradictory central protagonist, Monsieur Gustave, played to ripe comic perfection by Ralph Fiennes in a performance not simply Oscar worthy but comparible with the late, great Peter Sellers. Now that's high praise!

Yet as great as Fiennes is, as awe-inspiring as the handcrafted, pastel-shaded hotel sets and painted backdrops remain, the real key to the film's success lies with Anderson's intricate, ambitious script. Written in collaboration with Hugo Guinness, the British artist, illustrator and writer whose artwork appeared in Anderson's previous films The Royal Tannenbaums (2001) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), the story adopts a deliberately convoluted chronology continually contrasting past and present, age with youth, fact with fiction, the opulence of the titular hotel in its early turn-of-the-century splendour with the pale shadow that exists in the Cold War era of the 1960s. This is where we first meet the aged Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who enraptures a young novelist (Jude Law) with his tall tale. Yet Anderson indulges (perhaps over-indulges) in a triple-layered framing device, setting the scene as a young girl sits reading in front of a statue of the presumably deceased author whose grumpy older incarnation (Tom Wilkinson) then proceeds to narrate directly to camera.

Though some questioned the necessity of Anderson indulging in such elaborate story mechanics and whether there was any underlining point to his slightly self-satisfied literary and cinematic gamesmanship, it is worth noting the undercurrent of wistful melancholy that runs throughout. The sprawling narrative contrasts the sad, resigned future incarnations of the characters with their more exuberant and idealistic younger selves. It is the latter that seem more alive and vivid to the viewer and the film suggests that their dreams live on in the collective memories wrought by the writer's fiction. In that sense one would suggest that the underlining point of The Grand Budapest Hotel is to celebrate the power of a rattling good yarn and its ability to conjure back to life a vanished place, time and people so that they seem vibrant and new. It is the power of both memory and of cinema. To that end Anderson takes his love of artifice to new heights of ingenuity albeit firmly in the service of the labyrinthine story: the giant toy-box like sets and near-Méliès handcrafted exteriors, shifting aspect ratios, precision-choreographed slapstick and whimsical wordplay. Like a lot of Wes Anderson movies, Grand Budapest Hotel is also very literary with chapter headings, allusions and parodies to great literary works and an evasive story structure that mimics the slippery style of much post-modernist fiction in a manner that may beguile or grate depending on how sympathetic one is to his aims.

Alexander Desplat's amazing, multifaceted score is another key component in the movie's success. Desplat deftly underscores the subtle shifts in mood, in particular the Hitchcockian suspense whenever Willem Dafoe's monstrous hit-man stalks some hapless unfortunate. These scenes are something new and welcome in Anderson's repertoire. As is the exciting ski chase, one of several elaborate set-pieces that resemble those from his divisive animated family film Fantastic Mr. Fox which more and more has begun to look like a key turning point in his evolution as a filmmaker. There are numerous memorable characters, impeccably played by the exciting all-star ensemble but it is Fiennes' Monsieur Gustave who encapsulates the humanity inherent in the script. An opportunist, prissy perfectionist and romancer of the elderly he might be but Monsieur Gustave is also entirely without prejudice, generous in spirit and just a fundamentally decent fellow. Perhaps the grandest achievement of this grandiloquent epic is that it brings such a nuanced and engaging comic character to the screen.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1466 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: