*The last paragraph expresses short analysis for those who don't want to sit through the long read* Originally it was the Lego Movie I was going to be talking about today, but I have to stick to the code of writing about a lesser known if it is just as good. Films that are lesser known need all the recognition they can get. That is why I'll be talking about the Grand Budapest Hotel. Quick shout out to the Lego Movie though. If you haven't seen, rent it. It is a fantastic film that's more than just for the kids. There is great adult references, quick paced hilarious dialogue, and one of the better plot twists to come out of this year. That being said, let's talk about Grand Budapest Hotel.
Part of me knows this film isn't for everyone. It is a Wes Anderson film. For those of you who don't know what that means expect something incredibly quirky. His films are often weirdly humorous, clever, entirely artistic (often paying homage to older films), with thoughtfully dark dialogue (among many other things). This can be extremely off-putting to many. I understand this. Some of his films in my estimation are a complete bore and hard to watch. He also however come out with many films that I must admit that I really like. There is Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom. All of these I would recommend to those new to Wes Anderson. Then comes this film.
The story start simple enough, with a hotel (big surprise!). Or does it? This is the beauty of the film with narrator on top of narrator, though I won't spoil any of the major details. When it comes down to it we find ourself following the life of a lobby boy named Zero, played by the upcoming Tony Revolori, and the owner of the hotel named Monsieur Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes. They strike an unlikely bond that is tested when a certain visitor of the hotel has been fount out to have died. From there they start their crazy adventure.
Though many of you may not care, I have to talk about he cinematography. It is one of the staples of the film. First off there is all the brilliant color schemes in the film which are a treat to look at. You will get an idea of just from watching the trailer alone. Though even more, the creativity or lack thereof of the camera placement is the most interesting. Practically every shot in this film is centered precisely with the camera resting directly in the middle of everything. Even for the brief moments where it isn't, it will pan until it is. For a casual moviegoer this won't matter, but it is incredibly interesting once you notice it.
What drives this film though, is the performance by Ralph Fiennes. Part of me wants to say it is Oscar worthy because it is that good. His character Monsieur Gustave is one of the most clever people you will find with an air of high class, polite, over-the-top disposition and sexually charged charisma (directed particularly toward older woman). While his acting alone is so great, the chemistry that he has with Tony Revolori, Zero, is even better. The two bounce off of each other incredibly well with subtle, clever dialogue. Not only them, but their interactions with everyone else can be quite hilarious.
This brings me to the cameoes/small roles. This film is cameos galore! You've got to love a great small juicy role for a top level actor even if it is for a glance. I could name them all. Instead, lets take a look.
The ending feels like a cop-out to try and drive emotion. Having both the lobby boy's his best friend and his lover die feels cheap. From the beginning of the film we are presented with this fantastical almost unbelievable world where it appears happy endings do exist. To throw that tone for the film out of the window at the end doesn't pay attention to what the film was before. I know some real authentic emotion is needed in a film, though they could have replaced his wife death, in the least, for later on when he was an older man. This could explain his sadness for the beginning of the film. I understand they were trying for something deeper in emotion, which is honorable and makes it only a small flaw. Though, it could have done much differently with the same emotional significance.
A small flaw aside, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a near perfect film. The combination of both art and entertainment combine for a beautiful fusion, making this film one of the best of the year thus far. It is not for everyone, as I have said, but those who will get its quirky humor and art form are almost guaranteed a good time.
My Personal Preference 4/5
How Well It Was Made: 4.75/5