Wes Anderson is one of the best kind of directors. The guy is so unapologetically comfortable with his own quirky and awkward style that It’s hard not to get completely immersed in the world’s he creates with his movies. These worlds are enhanced by the fact that the same reliable cast often returns for each of his films, and that fact that Wes writes all of his films as well as directing them. My personal favorite Wes Anderson film would have to be his 2012 picture, “Moonrise Kingdom” for it’s over the top tone, great performances and genuine heart. This year, Anderson and crew returns for his most finically successful live action film to date, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
One of the most interesting things about The Grand Budapest hotel (I’ll call it GBH from here on out) is the structure of it’s story. It’s not simply a straightforward narrative, but is actually a story within a story, within a book. It’s hard to figure out exactly where the movie is going when it gives you all these plots at once, but it’s quickly established that the main story is the one being told in the 1930’s. The main plot of the movie is beyond engaging and hilarious. The film’s pacing is very quick, and because of this, the movie feels a little short. Having said that, the film still does make the most out of the time that it has. The jokes range from visual to verbal, and all of them are utterly hilarious. Most of it is dark humor, and it’s dark humor at it’s finest. It brings to mind much of the comedy present in Fawlty Towers and Tales From the Crypt. There is a point in the film, about midway through, where pacing gets a little slow, but it picks up again pretty quickly. Like many of Wes Anderson’s films, the wacky visuals perfectly complement the witty writing, and if one were without the other, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.
The characters are the highlight of the film, and all of them are quirky and interesting. The best of the bunch by far is Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the Hotel’s concierge, and Zero (Tony Revolori), a lobby boy at the Hotel and a close friend of Gustave’s. The two share a great chemistry and work well off each-other. Even though much of the movie is played for laughs,there are some genuinely touching moments between these two characters. The rest of the characters make relatively brief appearances, yet leave memorable impressions. I mentioned earlier that Wes Anderson uses the same cast for many of his films, and it’s no different here. Many familiar faces return, including Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson among others. Dafoe’s character, J.G. Jopling in particular, steals every scene he’s in. My favorite character has to be Inspector Henckels (Edward Norton), who is one of many characters chasing after Gustave and Zero throughout the film. He get some of the funniest dialogue.
Out of all the films Wes Anderson has made, this film is quite possibly his most Wes Anderson-ey film to date. The visual style, music, and overall atmosphere is just dripping with Wes’s charming style. There’s even little bits of animation here and there. If you’ve never seen a Wes Anderson film before, I’ll try and explain his style. His films often convey a very awkward and over the top tone that stays consistent throughout the course of the entire film. It’s a little hard to explain, but there’s nothing quite like a Wes Anderson film, and his style is as distinct and recognizable (if not more so) then other successful directors like Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg. I honestly can’t tell you if you like this movie, or any Wes Anderson film in general because it’s a very acquired taste. You either get his style and embrace it, or you don’t. I personally embrace it, but I will tell you that if you are new to his films, it may be a good idea to take a look at his previous work like Fantastic Mr Fox or Moonrise Kingdom to see if it’s your thing, Because GBH really does go all out when it comes to his style of filming.
Stylistic, charming and delightful are the three words that come to my mind when thinking about this movie.The Grand Budapest Hotel really has everything. It’s writing is humorous and smart. It’s characters are well developed and memorable, It’s intense, it’s touching, And it’s wacky in the ways only Wes Anderson can provide. . If your not a fan of Wes Anderson, then this probably won’t win you over, But if you are a fan, then this is a must see. Moonrise Kingdom is still my favorite of his films, but Grand Budapest Hotel is a close second.