The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
Hello Wes Anderson. How are you? That's fantastic. Hey man, can I tell you something? You're freaking awesome. Look, I should preface this review by saying if you hate Wes Anderson this movie will not change your mind. I mean, just look at that picture at the bottom. Everything about this movie is meticulous and symmetrical. How do you get around the Invisible Wall rule of filmmaking? By filming your entire movie from shots directly in front of all the characters? Yes, that's how. And I love you for it, Wes Anderson. If you haven't figured it out yet, I love Wes Anderson, and if you have no idea who he is, this is the perfect place to start.
Screw acting. Let's talk about the freaking set design. This movie should be an easy win for best production design, because every single item in this film is placed in very specific positions from start to finish. The attention to detail in this film is insane, and something that a secretly (and not clinically) OCD person such as myself adores when I see it in a movie. But every single shot was coordinated and planned by Wes Anderson and company. You could even go as far as to make a legitimate argument that set was created before the story and the story conformed to the individual shots. While this was obviously not the case, I'd be just as happy watching this film again with no sound whatsoever and just marveling at it as anything else. And the colors! The colors were vibrant and absolutely everywhere. There were even some visual jokes, with some blatantly obvious models popping up from time to time.
That's the other thing: this movie is freaking funny. Many of the jokes, however, are very subtle. You really have to be paying attention to spot the humor in GBH. This is not a Horrible Bosses comedy where you can turn off the brain and still have a good time. No. You have to engage with this movie to enjoy it, but when you do....you're gonna have a hell of a time. So. Acting. Here in lies my single biggest complaint about the film. One is that there really isn't a lead in this film. Well, I'm not complaining about this, as you had no problem keeping track of who is who, but my biggest problem is the hugely wasted supporting cast short of co-leads Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori. There are soooooo many A-list stars in this film, but not a single one of them is given a chance to develop their character. Some of their roles are so limited they'd be classified as basically a cameo appearance. This film is 99 minutes long, but with the cast they bring in, combined with how interesting the story is, they could've just as easily made the film 199 minutes (that's right) and I would've been happy. Obviously I exaggerate, but this film is criminally short, especially when you realize that someone like (just one of the about 17 examples) Edward Norton has about 3 scenes. And he is close to the most featured supporting actor in the entire film.
That said, this is a great film. I loved it from start to finish, but I wanted more. That's arguably the best complaint you can have about a film, but it's still a complaint nonetheless. And while the supporting cast is massively underused, this gave Fiennes a chance to really shine as the closest thing this movie has to a lead. Go see it. You'll thank me later.
The Critique: Wes Anderson at his finest. Phenomenal set design, great visuals, and an interesting story.
The Recommendation: A must-watch for any Wes Anderson fan or anyone not sure if they like him or not. You will be converted afterwards.
The Verdict: 9/10 Awesome
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