The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Director: Wes Anderson.
Screenplay: Wes Anderson.
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Edward Norton, Adrian Brody, F. Murray Abraham, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Mathieu Amalric, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Léa Seydoux, Larry Pine, Florian Lukas, Karl Markovics, Waris Ahluwalia, Wally Wolodarsky, Bob Balaban, Fisher Stevens.

“You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant… Oh, fuck it”

Those familiar with Wes Anderson will now know that his style needs no introduction. So much has been written or said about his idiosyncrasy that there are few adjectives left in which to describe his very unique approach to filmmaking and storytelling. Those that find him ostentatious or grandiose will likely want to avoid this (his eight film) while those that rejoice in his work will no doubt find this a boisterous festivity and celebration of his artistry.

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During the 1960’s, a young author (Jude Law) visits The Grand Budapest Hotel – one of Europe’s most respected establishments. He meets it’s owner M. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who tells him of when he was a young lobby boy (Tony Revolori) and how he came to know the colourful and flamboyant M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and the adventures they shared in the hotel.

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As much as Anderson’s style is so well known now, so too is the consistent ensemble of actors that he’s able to amass. All-be-it in cameo roles, his most reliable trio from the early days of his career in Wilson, Schwartzman and Murray are here, once again. His mid-career actors like Goldblum, Dafoe and Brody make further appearances while Swinton, Norton and Keitel add themselves to the mix again following Moonrise Kingdom. Their roles may be small but no matter how small, it’s still great to see such a wonderful ensemble of actors all get the chance to interact. However, it’s the newcomer in Fiennes that’s the main focus and the true star of the show. His performance is endearing and his comic-timing absolutely note perfect. His ability to accentuate a simple word of profanity can, at times, produce some genuinely hilarious moments. After witnessing his work here and his darker comedic turn in In Bruges it would seem that Fiennes is just as comfortable with comedy as he is with drama. I’d definitely welcome him flexing more of his comedic chops in the future.

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Another one who plays a major role in the proceedings is Robert Yoeman. No Wes Anderson review should go without mentioning the sublimely colourful work of this fantastic cinematographer. The film is a real feast for the eyes and as Anderson maintains a brisk pace while juggling numerous characters, Yoeman allows him to create his illusion on a wondrous palette of delicacies.

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It’s fast. It’s intricately layered. It has a slight edge of darkness. Ultimately, though, it’s entertaining – as Anderson so often is. Many have declared it his best film and although I don’t agree, I wouldn’t argue with it being his most ambitious. 9 Academy Award nominations (although Fiennes being a glaring omission) is further proof that Anderson hasn’t ran out of ideas or that his approach has become tiresome. There seems to be life in him yet and I still find myself wondering and intrigued by what his next adventure will be.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: According to Wes Anderson, the whole cast stayed in the same hotel [Hotel Börse in Görlitz] during the film’s principal photography. He insisted on all make-up and costume happen in the hotel lobby of to give the process more urgency and speed up filming. The owner of the same hotel appears in the film as an extra working on the front desk of the Grand Budapest, and after filming finished for the day the crew would often return to find him at the front desk of their own hotel.

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42 Responses to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

  1. I can seriously NEVER get enough of Wes Anderson!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my favorites of 2014. Fine review, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A real treat for sure, Michael. But when is Wes Anderson not? I really enjoyed it but struggled to say why, to be honest. I’d liked to have said more but the words escaped me. It was just a treat. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good review Mark. It’s the kind of movie that all sorts of Anderson lovers will love, and the haters, will, yes, hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For a while there his films were getting a bit too dry, too precious for me. Moonrise Kingdom and The GBH are a return to form I’d say. I will also say my god did he use a lot of purple in that movie. LOL.

    BTW Mark did you ever see this Wes Anderson spoof from Saturday Night Live here in the states? Pretty funny stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous review Mark. I agree with you, I wouldn’t call this Wes Anderson’s best movie. Fact my relationship with this film has been a weird one. It was my most anticipated movie of 2014, yet I left the theater feeling disappointed and underwhelmed. I initially felt that Anderson bit off more than he could chew and the film lacked the strong emotional undercurrent that all of his movies are known for.

    But was it a victim of my intensely overdone expectations? I re-watched it a couple of months ago and I can happily say I have a much greater appreciation for it. I even went back and altered my review. I would still argue for some of my original disappointments, but as a whole it is a fantastic movie that continues to grow on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I happen to agree here, bro (so early in the year 😉 )
      My expectations were very high also and left the film with slight disapointment. However, its grower and I believe on repeat viewings it will continue to do so. You can’t match the imagination and style of Anderson these days! He really is a unique talent!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This movie is fantastic! great work, Muckers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice mention of the color palettes- my favorite part of his films!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve enjoyed his films for years but I’d had enough of Anderson when I watched Moonrise Kingdom, and despite the praise this got I held back from watching it as a result. I’m glad I succumbed in the end as I enjoyed it a lot. You’ve summed up the charms here, definitely. Would still like him to come back with something completely different though, with different actors and so on. But let’s be honest…it’s never going to happen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • D’you know? I still havent seen a bad Wes Anderson movie but I totally get what you’re saying. I loved Grand Budapest. It was thoroughly enjoyable stuff but I really struggled to write about it, without sounding like I was repeating myself (and I think it shows in my review. In all honesty, I took writers block in this and instead of writing about the film, I tried to string some nice sounding sentences together LOL).
      I do hope he keeps going in the meantime, though, but if he doesn’t change, I reckon everyone’s reviews will start to read just as similiar as Anderson’s films do. 😉

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      • Yeah I’ve only written two reviews for Anderson films but I know that in the next one I’ll have to repeat things I’ve already mentioned before, however hard I try not to. I guess it’s a fine line between being celebrated as a visionary auteur or being criticised for being boringly predictable! But I’m back in his camp after this one…for now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose I’ve never really left his camp and even though I’ve not reviewed all his films, i have seen them and probably wouldn’t rate any of them lower that 4stars. Thats a pretty good track record.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Finally caught this last week. I admire it, but it leaves something to be desired for me. I don’t know if it’s Anderson’s style (I haven’t seen much of his early stuff) but I did really like Moonrise Kingdom. Great write-up Mark.

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  10. I was thoroughly entertained. The visual and oral treat was like eating truffles, drinking expensive champagne while listening to the finest opera. High class with funny characters in the service industry, all parodying each other, each class ridiculous. And the cast! I loved this and my esteem for Wes only grows. Nice review, Mark. Glad you liked it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Thats certainly a descriptive way of expressing your feelings Cindy, and a perfect way to describe the experience of the film.

      I had plenty of fun with it, too. No doubt about that.

      Like

  11. You’ve convinced me this is a must watch Mark. Fine review as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wes Anderson’s best yet!

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    • I’m one of the few who thinks Anderson’s best is The Darjeeling Limited, Abbi. He’s done so many good films though, that’s it’s always a difficult choice. I wouldn’t choose this but I still really liked it.

      Like

  13. One of me favourite films of 2014 😀

    Like

  14. Glad you enjoyed this one Mark! I’m not always fond of all Wes Anderson’s movies but this one ends up on my Top 10 of the year. It’s such a blast and the ensemble cast is just superb. Nice to see Fiennes in a rare comedic role too!

    Like

    • Fiennes was a real winner here, Ruth. Loved his performance and i wouldn’t have been disappointed to see him among the oscar nominees. In fact, I’m a little pissed that he’s not included. Hilarious performance.

      Like

  15. I genuinely don’t think I would get tired of watching this. What a joy this film is. And what a lovely review Mark!

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    • I took writers block on this buddy. In the end I tried to string some nice sounding sentences together just to show my appreciation for it. I felt like I didn’t say a whole lot about it but enough to say I liked it. Cheers all the same, my man! 🙂

      Like

  16. A) Fantastic review

    B) Fantastic bit of trivia at the end there and

    C) “it would seem that Fiennes is just as comfortable with comedy as he is with drama. I’d definitely welcome him flexing more of his comedic chops in the future.” < — I couldn't agree more. Fiennes is wonderful here. It's an utter shame he was excluded in 2015. But what does the Academy know, anyway? Isn't this the same Academy who shunned The Lego Movie? 😉

    I think I put this slightly lower on my list just b/c of the darker tones. It kind of jarred with Andreson's utter inane comical style. But it didn't present itself ever as a problem. Just something I took note of and couldn't stop thinking about.

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  17. I found it to be an absolute delight. One of few films that made me want to watch a second time straight after first viewing. Anderson’s best for me and the film of 2014.

    Liked by 1 person

    • High praise indeed, Dan. I’m assuming you have no issues with its 9 nominations?
      I enjoyed it a great deal, myself. Still not Anderson’s best for me, though. I’m one of the few who adores The Darjeeling Limited.

      Like

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