Posted by: da_nibbler | March 19, 2014

Review: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Grand Budapest HotelI have been trying “to get” the brilliance that is Wes Anderson and his films for years, to no avail. Seems to go straight over my head. I found it impossible to connect with any of his characters or garner much entertainment out of his stories. And believe me, I have tried. The closest I ever got was with ‘The Life Aquatic’, which I accredit solely to Bill Murray’s performance. And then ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was released. The trailer gave every indication this will be like all the others. Quirky. Bizarre. Unique. Anderson. And utterly beyond me. All of that is true. Except, for the very first time, the latter.

From start to finish I was “gespannt wie ein Flitzebogen” as Ralph Fiennes’ character puts it, I couldn’t wait to see what they come up with next. The only thing able to wipe the constant smirk off my face were laugh out loud moments, of which there were many. Yes, this film is funny. Not just thanks to the delectable performances by the entire cast or the well written dialogue. Sometimes an edit will elicit a chuckle or a sound bite makes you giggle. There are so many little details that make this world work. And the visuals – the look and feel of the entire film is outlandish. It is set in the Second World War yet I couldn’t help but think I’m in a fantasy world. Everything is stylised. Like a fairy tale. From the characters to the dialogue, the setting, the story, the visuals. You think you’ve seen it all, but there is always something new, even more bizarre just around the corner. I don’t want to spoil even the smallest thing for anyone. I’ll let you discover the brilliance that is ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ for yourself.

Ralph Fiennes’ Mssr Gustave and Tony Revolori’s Zero are the heart and soul of the film. You are not immediately introduced to them and you might get the impression the film centres on other characters at first. That is where this film excels, it does not adhere to your standard storytelling structure. Everything happens in layers. Layers upon layers. Some of which you’ll most likely forget until they re-emerge. I had a bit of an ‘Inception’ moment near the end, which only made me appreciate the film even more.

All story parts and characters are so rich and lively, they demand all your attention. So much to see. So many little details that all make the film what it is. Trying to remember stand out moments is almost impossible as there are too many. Just sit back and get ready for a great ride. This is alternative cinema at its finest. I hope the film gets the recognition it deserves when the award season comes around again. This is a gem every film fan needs to watch. An instant classic.

As a little side note to the makers of ‘300 – Rise of an Empire’, THIS is how you incorporate voice over into a film. Hint hint nudge nudge.


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