The Grand Budapest Hotel showcases the talent and charm that director Wes Anderson is known for. His movies are filled with celebrity cameos, beautiful color palettes, and quirky humor that may not appease all but is sure to make a long lasting impression.
I’m going to come right out and say that I loved the film. I am a sucker for beautiful movies, and the cinematography was nothing short of mesmerizing. Anderson also employs such interesting motifs, such as old-fashioned slapstick comedy which rarely graces screens nowadays. In other scenes, the humor is so intelligent and witty that the entire audience was filled with laughter.
The plot consists of the adventures of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and Zero (Tony Revolori)– who originates as a lowly Lobby Boy but ends up as a trusted companion of M. Gustave. The movie remains around these two characters and their relationship, but it begins as a tale told to an unnamed writer (Jude Law) as he converses with an older Zero (F. Murray Abraham). While many scenes are hysterical and amusing, others are heartfelt which truly adds to the layers of the film. At its center, Hotel is a satire filled with many insinuations about the ruling class and about films generally set during the twenties. It both utilizes and mocks motifs used in that time period – like the previously mentioned slapstick humor.
For a majority of the film, M. Gustave and Zero are being pursued by the disinherited son of Gustave’s ex-lover – played by Tilda Swinton. Dmitri (Adrian Brody) gives a comically brash performance as a jilted high born son, a caricature of the stereotypical upper class of that time. He becomes violent through action and words towards all characters who stand in the way of his inheritance. As an audience, this always caused laughter due to the sophisticated air held by the other characters throughout the film and the direct contrasted with his crass actions.
Now, about the setting and my absolute love for the colors used throughout the film. Depending on what era the scene was set in – there were four of them overall – the coloring was different. In the 1920’s, the classic pastels were used to their full extent and I constantly fell in love with the scenery and the costumes worn. Also, the difference between the good and evil characters is constantly in the audience’s face due to the sheer contrast of characters in pastels verses characters in all black living or dominating in a dark, ominous mansion.
In the 60’s, the hotel is decrepit with colors reminiscent of a shady motel lobby. The hotel is abundant with dark reds and muggy browns and mustard yellows, a severe downgrade from when the hotel was on the top of its game. Those two time periods held the most noticeable differences which contributed to the tone of the times – which I could write about forever. Coloring can contribute entirely to the desired tone, often conveying feelings within the audience that they don’t even realize. That being said, Anderson definitely uses this technique to his advantage.
Overall, on every count The Grand Budapest Hotel was strong. The acting was compassionate and hilarious, every cameo used to its full extent. The cameos ranged from Bill Murray (a frequent collaborator with Anderson) to Owen Wilson to Willem Dafoe, just to name a few. The setting and coloring was beautiful. The story was fantastic. Being Anderson’s first feature film since the popular Moonrise Kingdom, I was very apprehensive but he surpassed all expectations leaving for a very satisfied exiting audience.