Title: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Country: USA, Germany
Language: English, French
Director: Wes Anderson
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography: Robert D. Yeoman
F. Murray Abraham
Wes Anderson has been steadfastly honing his finesse since the outset of his career starting from BOTTLE ROCKET (1996) when he was only 27, from then, this wunderkind’s filmography has flourished healthily, presently he is among the most successful auteur in US indie ground and internationally his fame also balloons with his audience, his eighth feature THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, this year Berlin International Film Festival’s opening film (and Grand Jury Prize winner) and a genuine box-office triumph, indicates he is not slowing down in any aspect.
Distinctively utilizing 3 aspect ratios for three different time-lines, the predominant story-line in the 30s is in the standard academy ratio, Anderson marshals a bevy of distinguished actors to offer his die-hard devotees a resplendent banquet inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig.
In a fictional Republic of Zubrowska, located in middle Europe’s alpine state, there is the titular hotel, on the cusp of WWII, the concierge Gustave H (Fiennes) and the lobby boy Zero (Revolori) experience a smorgasbord of incidents fluctuate from an inheritance tumult to a painting theft and to wacky murder cases, from an off-the-wall prison break to a catch-and-chase escapade in a snowfield and finally to a vis-à-vis confrontation in the hotel, it is as kooky as one could ever anticipate in a fashion of Anderson’s childlike sophistication, at the same time, the narrative unwinds with absorbing élan in the same class as in MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012).
Anderson’s one-of-a-kind varicolored miniatures, opulent design and ingenious compositions again leave his audience in a state of awe and elation, although frequently his back screen projections let the cat out of the reality bag, which vastly has the hallmarks of the standard Hollywood productions, a studio setting grafts on an unconvincing outdoor background.
Fiennes is superbly foppish and demonstrates a dynamic interplay with the wide-eyed neophyte Revolori. The pair’s friendship is alternately self-consciously comical and heroically heartfelt, Fiennes knows perfectly the timing to deliver his sermon under diverse circumstances, as a dowager-charmer, his lovable goofiness trumps any moral judgement simply because everybody deserves to be happy.
Among the massive supporting group, F. Murray Abraham deserves more credits for his compassionate hospitality as the elder Zero in the 1960s and the impassioned narrator (nevertheless how come an Indian boy has metamorphosed into an Arabian grown-up is beyond any explanation); Tilda Swinton is strikingly overshadowed by her old-age make-up although she is always a scene-stealer (even when her character is dead); Saoirse Ronan plays Agatha, the love-interest of Zero, an apprentice of the Mendel bakery who has a Mexico-shaped birthmark on her face, she a plucky girl with a sense of righteousness, a symbol of virtue which falls victim of the impending war; last but not the least, Willem Dafoe spices up his menacing goon with equally-dosed grimness and caricature.
Principally Anderson underlays a tale of woe with sufficient verve and vibrant palette, more incredibly, he is perfecting his story-telling technique, as a whole, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is his most mature film to date and rosily beckons that the zenith of Wes Anderson school is manifestly on the horizon now.