The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
The adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
Inspired by the writings of Austrian-Hungarian author Stefan Zweig, The Grand Budapest Hotel wants so much to be a sophisticated comedy with bits of romantic distinguished characters reminding of the best films of Max Ophüls and Ernst Lubitsch. Knowing that The Earrings of Madame de… is Anderson’s favorite Criterion Collection film, this is no surprise that he would make a film that is inspired by the German master.
However, with all the will and wit that Anderson is known for, his stylistic extravagances and quirky filmmaking style isn’t enough here to make it happen. Monsieur Gustave is not really engaging and Zero is funny but still hard to get. Added to the stylistic signature, the outstanding cast of F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Mathieu Almaric, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, and Owen Wilson are just a few of the names and many regulars of Anderson’s films.
All those elements couldn’t save the film from being a big mess of a story that goes everywhere and anywhere just for the sake of creating an interesting imagery and using old school visual effects. The hotel looks like a huge cake and despite the saturated look of everything, the adventure does seem forced and characters were probably written for actors that accepted to be in a Wes Anderson picture despite the real use in the story. It is sad that Anderson’s film fells flat because of that. He is a master at writing great ensemble cast stories.
Admitting that I am a big fan of Wes Anderson but not a fan of his latest might demonstrate how even if I vow almost a cult to the director of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, and Moonrise Kingdom I honestly couldn’t relate or enjoy The Grand Budapest Hotel as much as I wished I would. Even if it has its moments, it was not enough to save it from being nonchalent, nostalgic in a pointless matter, and a lesser film compared to his overall work. I always let some strikes pass when I really like a director and that he can make films the way he envisions them. Just like Stanley Kubrick who had a vision that was unique and always right. It fells into the average category and lacks of flavor even if any Anderson picture it has lots of sugar.