The Grand Budapest Hotel
Continuing my Oscar themed reviews, I've decided to make study of the beloved Wes Anderson masterpiece that is being heavily featured at this year's Oscars with 9 nominations. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) is what I consider a culmination of Andersons greatest work, it even comes to the point where Anderson mocks his art form in a way that brings this incredibly quirky, absurdly entertaining film to the point of what I consider myself, a directorial perfection. The more I watch this film, the more I realize there are little to no flaws, hence the idea that this, indeed, is a masterpiece.
Our film takes place in the Eastern European nation of Zubrowka (a fictitious location) at the wonderful alpine resort known to many as The Grand Budapest Hotel, a very famous and luxurious establishment with only the finest of staff such as M. Gustave. Gustave (played by Ralph Fiennes) is the concierge of the Grand Budapest and in return is the most important man in the building, he keeps things running on a client-personnel level. Our friend Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the new hotel lobby boy tasked with assisting not only M. Gustave but also the clientele of the esteemed hotel. The two of them make up the wonderful team of concierge and lobby boy. We quickly come to realise that Gustave is indeed a perfume-addicted, fancier of the old ladies, well mannered professional within the first few minutes of the film, and Zero loves it. Our story quickly unfolds when Madamme D, Gustaves favorite of the hotel attendees, passes away. Leaving a very valuable painting in his property due to her will, thus angering her children and starting a wild goose chase sending Gustave to jail, where he meets a merry group of inmates, to the alps, and all sorts of places around this fictitious land. All of this due to Dmitri (Adrien Brody) and his fascist personality wanting Gustave to have nothing to do with Madamme D, but also the fact that he murdered his mother with the help of Jopling (Willem Dafoe) and needed someone to frame in order to cash in on the riches. Although the odds never seem to fall in any of their favors, Gustave comes out victorious in the end. Along the way Zero met Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) and fell in love with her kind heart and loving affection. Us as viewers knew where the answers were hidden, though it wasn't until the end that Gustave and Zero discovered the truth, all because of Agatha's eagle eyes. With this truth, this case in the form of a will only to be read if Madamme D was murdered, Gustave comes out with all the riches along with, Boy With Apple, the priceless painting. Eventually Zero receives these riches as he is the sole air of M. Gustave and with that Zero Moustafa becomes one of the richest men in the nation of Zubrowka.
This absurd story is told by an author who recounts his meeting with Zero Moustafa at the Grand Budapest and in change learnt the story of Zero's employment at the hotel and so learning the events that led to the creation of his book. It's kind of confusing when you think about it and so do not think too much about it! I don't think I'll spend much more time explaining it, I might even confuse myself. The Grand Budapest Hotel features a wonderful range of color from bright and vibrant to dark and radiant. The use of orange, red and purple with the lighter side of the film, the happier more lively part, is incredible when you contrast it with the negative events of the film, in this case the black with Madamme D's kids, the dark, night time shots involving Jopling and his motorcycle, I like the way Anderson used his colors to represent all that is good which was the hotel, Zero and Agatha also the way he showed all that is bad with as I said earlier, the night shots, the dark clothes, the gloomy feel and how he even manages to show neutrality with the white that Serge (Mathieu Amalric) wears. The sets were gorgeous, they were symmetric, as per Wes Anderson style, and yet they represented this very cozy and warm world, from the lovely train car rooms to the little telephone booth in the middle of a barley field. The minimalistic cues in the shots makes this film simple but at the same time complicated because there are so many small things you can miss if you don't pay attention. An incredibly well done film with the utmost attention to detail.
Mr. Anderson has really out done himself on this film and he can only keep going up from here. It represents the importance of storytelling and memory and how without it we wouldn't have such incredible things as this, we would not have great books, great films or great campfires. I also believe that M. Gustave represents Anderson himself, with his attention to detail and his absurdity and all around personality, Gustave lives in his own world and so does Mr. Anderson and that is what gives them charm, it is what makes them such incredible characters. When I first saw this movie I enjoyed it so much, and every time I have seen it since, I've felt the same love over and over. The acting is wonderful, the dialogue is splendid, it moves in a smooth pace, not too slow but also not fast, it's just right so that you can catch those details but you still have to pay attention. As I said before this is directorial perfection, Wes Anderson is a master at his craft and I hope he never changes.
4.5 Golden Bananas
Sushami Pomerleau-Piquette (2015)