|Review by Benn Robbins|
I love the way Wes Anderson sees the world around him. Whether it be New York City, the great wide ocean, India, a rural, animated farmland, or a fictional eastern European country on the brink of a fictional WWII.
They are all handled with an eye for the slightly odd, yet very relatable. Almost like a fond memory of a place you once thought you might have seen in your mind as a kid.
And the people that inhabit these worlds are just left of center and a child-like caricature of once real people.
They retain all the heart and passion of their real-life counterparts, however, they have something, extra, about them.
What I like to call the Wes Anderson touch.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wonderful visual treat that could have only come from the mind of Wes Anderson. Grand and yet so intimate. Broad in its infinitesimal details. Quirky and also so straight forward. It takes your hand from the opening frame and doesn’t let go till the end.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a delicate tale of the extraordinary adventures of M. Gustave (masterfully portrayed by Ralph Finnes) as it is told though a series of flashbacks by his once trainee, Mr. Mustafa (Academy Award Winner F. Murray Abraham).
Mr. Mustafa is now owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Through a chance meeting with a young writer, whom we first meet at the beginning of the film as an old man, Mr. Mustafa recounts the tale of the Grand Budapest Hotel and M. Gustave, over dinner.
Mr. Mustafa, spins a fantastic and loving tale of how he met, then concierge, M. Gustave, a man who was loved by all who knew him and a man who could, quite literally, get anything for you. Then, only a lobby boy, Mustafa is taken under Gustave’s wing and becomes a part of a thrilling tale of death, deceit, love, and fortune.
A flashback, within a flashback, within a flashback. All crafted and effortlessly achieved by a master film maker. Like watching a 3D movie through a kaleidoscope though binoculars.
His use of the 2/3 rule and his choice of color palette are sublime. The hotel itself becomes a very important character in this film. Throughout the film I wanted to be there. In that wonderful hotel. The richness and the splendor. I wanted it to wrap its colorful and lavish walls around me and never let go.
Speaking of characters, like all Anderson films the characters and the actors portraying them are all marvelous.
Supporting Finnes and Abraham on this wild ride are a host of Anderson regulars such as Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe (who’s characters seem to get progressively more and more insane with each film), Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson and Bob Balaban. No one is wasted and each one crucial to the story. Rounding out the supporting cast are Tony Revolori as young Mustafa and Saoirse Ronan as Young Mustafa’s love interest, Agatha.
This is Wes Anderson at his Wes Andersonly best. I have heard it said that you either love Wes Anderson films or you hate them. This is no exception.
You are either going to love this film and declare it his best, or you are going to revile it and just not get it.
Personally, I love his films and this film might finally usurp The Royal Tenenbaums as my favorite Wes Anderson film.