In his latest fabulously outrageous film The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson introduces us to Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge to end all concierges who takes enterprising lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) under his wing. The movie is visually stunning and laugh out loud hilarious, and what totally sold me was its witty use of language and music to give another layer to its story set in a first class hotel in a fictional eastern European country in that elegant era between the wars. And the chemistry between the older, wiser hotelier and his young protégé is delicious! What begins as a mentoring relationship quickly turns to a zany buddy romp when one of the hotel’s wealthy guests (Tilda Swinton) is murdered and Gustave is thrown in jail. And only Zero can save him.
I know that Wes Anderson movies (Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore) are kind of like scotch. You either like them or you don’t. And if you like them, this is his best yet. As usual The Grand Budapest Hotel is peopled by over-the-top characters who speak in Anderson cadence, expound extremely romantic notions of life, and live in a world that doesn’t quite exist. Warm sepia tones and fabulous wallpaper are ubiquitous. And A-list actors come out of the woodwork at every turn. The film is told as flashback from older Zero’s (F. Murray Abraham) perspective as he relates his fantastic story to a writer (Jude Law) staying in the hotel. There’s a love interest (Saoirse Ronan), a greedy murderous heir (Adrien Brody), his evil henchman (Willem Dafoe), an unrelenting policeman on Gustav and Zero’s tail (Ed Norton) and cameos by a dozen other greats!
I only hope that the Academy voters don’t forget this film come Oscar time next year. Ralph Feinnes has never been better and script is brilliant. The sets and cinematography are simply stunning and even the music sets it apart. So if you are looking for funny, smart, unusual entertainment, run out and see this movie! And be sure to stop at a great pastry shop after for dessert.