Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- Wes Anderson is one of the most unique filmmakers working in the world today. The stories he weaves have a whimsical element to them that makes them fascinating and fun to watch. He always assembles a talented cast of actors who are fully dedicated to the story they’ve been charged with telling. His latest feature, Grand Budapest Hotel, hit theatres for a limited run a month ago and it finally made it to the Shrewsbury area.
Zero Moustafa is hired as a lobby boy in training at the luxurious Grand Budapest Hotel. There he is trained under the watchful eye of Monsieur Gustave H. Monsieur Gustave is a charming concierge who frequents the hearts (and beds) of numerous dowagers. However after one such dowager is found dead, Gustave is suspected of murder. He and Zero travel across the country to clear his name and uncover the true culprit.
Grand Budapest Hotel is a remarkable little fable crafted by Anderson and co. Wes Anderson is a filmmaker who is constantly challenging himself and this time he goes all out. Grand Budapest Hotel is an ambitious work, packed to the brim with detail, characters, and settings. Under the care of someone else, this film could become in danger of getting bogged down in its details, but Anderson sticks the landing, making his best film since Fantastic Mr. Fox.
This is also thanks to the actors that Anderson has assembled for this massive assembly. The list is a long one, including Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Owen Wilson, Tom Wilikinson, Jude Law, and Tilda Swinton all playing a variety of characters that get little screen time, but nonetheless feel fleshed out. Saoirse Ronan plays Agatha, Zero’s love interest and she made me completely forget about how terrible her character was in Atonement. Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe are excellent as the two main antagonists of the film and provide the more horrifying aspects of the film.
However, the two leads carry the whole picture, including its cast, on its shoulders. Newcomer Tony Revvolori makes a starmaking turn as the young Zero and he is instantly relatable the moment we see him. That goes double for Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. Fiennes goes through a lot within the course of the narrative, but never fails to lose the hearts of the audience. Fiennes is wonderful as Gustave H. and his performance places him at the top of the best performances.
What is so entrancing about Wes Anderson’s films is that they feel at times like a storybook. The settings are lavish and bright and the characters ridiculous and exaggerated. It seems like Anderson has combined both the storybook wonder of Fantastic Mr. Fox and mixed with the period seriousness of Moonrise Kingdom. This is by far the darkest of Anderson’s films that sometimes clashed with the storybook feeling of the piece, but it could not fully detract from the wonder of it all.
Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the best movies out in theatres right now and easily one of the highlights of the year so far. It is funny, thrilling, and entrancing as it goes on. It’s packed to the gills with information, but part of keeping up is part of the fun. Anderson and co. have crafted an exquisite tale that they want to you to enjoy watching it as much as they did making it. Grand Budapest Hotel earns its title as one of the grandest films of the year.