Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Posted: March 17, 2014


And who said adults can’t have any fun? Wes Anderson’s monumental feature takes us on a captivating adventure where beauty and imagination have no limits. Anderson has shown us before what he can do with an all-star cast. The Royal Tenenbaums still remains an unblemished classic, and whilst Moonrise Kingdom failed to keep up with the pace he’d set; The Grand Budapest Hotel re-announces Anderson as a Hollywood stalwart. The set design shows the great lengths that the film’s artistry reaches. Anderson is renowned for the aesthetics of his films and The Grand Budapest Hotel is no different.

Ralph Fiennes is terrific as M. Gustave, a storied hotel concierge who is framed for the murder of Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). Gustave’s plight to prove his innocence takes us on an epic joyride involving prison breaks and a snow slope chase. Fiennes showcases some of his best work under the direction of Anderson, but the introduction of Tony Revolori as Zero the young lobby boy that accompanies Fiennes on his extraordinary journey shows the guts Anderson has to cast a virtually unknown actor in a co-starring role.

The chemistry between the eighteen-year-old and Fiennes leaves the audience wanting more. The dialogue between the pair throughout the entire film breeds wit with a drop of emotion in the right places. The rest of the all-star cast has luminous performances from Harvey Keitel, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe amongst others.

Although this film packs a who’s who of Hollywood heavyweights, some of the performances from its stars don’t reach the heights that we impressively know they are capable of. Edward Norton is somewhat flat as Inspector Henckels, whilst Owen Wilson’s appearance comes across more as a favour to the director he has a strong working relationship with.

However that takes nothing away from a prodigious film which had it been released the other side of awards season would’ve cleaned up. Make this film one to see, it might not have the same marketing weight as the blockbusters succeeding it, but it leads the line in sheer movie brilliance.

Read more by Greg Allman on LDN Card or on his blog.