Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) - ★★★★½

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Stefan Zwig (inspired by the works), Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness (Story)
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray, Mathieu Amalric, Edward Norton... and many more.

The Grand Budapest Hotel gave me one of the grandest experiences I've ever had at the cinema. It's stunning to look at, pleasing to listen to, and filled with characters that tickled my funny bone from start to finish. It reminded me a lot of Grand Hotel (1932), a classic that starred many of Hollywood's greatest actors of that time. Except it contained Anderson's flare for tongue-in-cheek humour, and over-the-top set production and style. I truly loved this film, and I loved seeing many of my favourite actors take turns in bringing their own personal flare to the screen. It's films like this that ignite my passion for cinema. You can tell that it's a labour of love, and a film that may just stand the test of time.

We follow the story of hotel concierge Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), who gets himself entangled in a dangerous web of murder. The story is told through the eyes of Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), who is by Gustave's side as the story unfurls in a glorious fashion. We meet many unique, entertaining characters along this journey, and when all is said and done, it's a journey that rewards you greatly.

Gustave and Zero,  running from the law whilst on a mission for answers.
Anyone who is familiar with Anderson's works will know that he makes very interesting characters, and The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception. I loved the people, I loved their dialogue, and I loved the way this story unfurled. It's not a terribly long film, nor is its story very grand... yet, it felt like such a grand experience. The whole film felt like an epic.

Ralph Fiennes is the MVP of the film, starring in a role which I feel he was born to play. That is, a "candy-ass," airy-fairy concierge which smelt of perfume and spoke the word "darling" in such a soft, sincere manner. He was more than convincing to me. Fiennes truly became this character, and delivered 80% of the laughs in this film. He truly is a remarkable actor. I also give kudos to Tony Revolori. As the sidekick to Fiennes, he was a joy to watch.

With such a large cast, it is usually hard to pick favourites. While Fiennes was the clear star and greatest attribute to the film, I must say that Willem Dafoe was the funniest of them all. He played the private-detective, right-hand man of the evil Dmitri, played by Adrien Brody. Dafoe made me laugh so much, by the expression on his face alone. Brody was hilarious too, especially when he questioned Gustave's sexuality.

Saoirse Ronan is a rising star of the film industry, and she was a brilliant addition to this film, playing the love-interest of Zero. It was great to see Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson again, who are regulars in Anderson's films. Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, and Jude Law gave fine performances, but weren't in the film long enough to warrant special mentions.

One actor I truly enjoyed in this film was Jeff Goldblum, who is the absolute master at playing intelligent, nonchalant people. 
The music, the cinematography, the costumes, and the set-production were all absolutely exquisite. I hope to see this film snag Oscar nominations for each of these categories, because it is one of the most remarkable looking films I've seen in a very long time. The set production is so meticulous, that I'd compare it to that of Titanic (1997). It sucked me into the environment, and brought me to a world that I wish still existed.

All in all, The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the most entertaining films made in recent years. It's truly unforgettable, thanks to the magnificent cast and all-round wonderful characters that made up this enticing tale. It doesn't quite reach 'masterpiece,' status for me, but only because that's just my personal reaction to the film. I'm hard-pressed to find anything to fault, because it's just that good.


  1. I'm very curious about this one, want to see it. Nice write up :)

  2. i see nominations for fiennes, defoe and ronan

    1. Fiennes will be put in the glorious MAYBE category, for he gave a brilliant comedic performance, and those don't fare well with the Academy voters.

      Dafoe's role was too small and quiet to be considered for a nomination (I believe), as is Ronan's. I adore both actors, and they were both magnificent, but it would be wrong on many levels if they received nominations for these roles.

  3. Nice review you have here. I know already there's a chance I might be bringing it up again when I list down my best movies of 2014.

    1. Thanks Jaime. I have no doubt that it will make my Top 10 films of 2014 list :)

      I look forward to seeing your list ^_^

  4. Like you, Ben, I loved this film. It has instantly become one of my all-time favorites. As close to perfect as one could ever expect!