The Grand Budapest Hotel
The excitement! The anticipation! After lots of failed plans, we finally managed to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Going to the cinema to see something as talked about as a Wes Anderson film, you kind of expect a masterpiece. Something that is visually grandiose, with a story that pulls you in. Just... the story didn't
pull us in. The dialogue was witty and enjoyable - even with the 13-year-old sat next to me roaring with laughter every time Fiennes said the F-word! - but despite the punchiness, it lacked a certain depth. The story was there, the subtext was there... It was just all very fleeting. Look, we're not asking for a Romeo and Juliet like love story. But, while Zero and Agatha had a quirky cute thing going on between them, we didn't feel the intensity of their emotions. The unquestioned trust between them or Zero's pain of loss had to be taken at face value. Cute was all it was. Monsieur Gustave's feelings for Madame D felt more true but on a whole it was all talk. Mind you, by no means does this result in a lousy film. While flashy visuals don't always turn a mediocre story into a great film, Anderson's visual genius has made it work oh so well. His ability to create an universe that feels both otherworldly and real is almost uncanny. It's nothing short of spectacular. Set in a fictional European country between world wars, Grand Budapest Hotel was inspired by the very real Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary. Anderson even references the founder of the Czech hotel who was a confectioner by profession. The film is packed with witty but obvious references like the ZZ army. You'd almost be forgiven for wondering if the Republic of Zubrowka is indeed a country and not a devilish vodka from Poland. The pastel-hued world and meticulously choreographed scenes are an aesthetic experience. The precision and attention gone into each and every detail is hard to grasp. It's all executed perfectly. From Mendl's lush pastry (there's a video below if you wanna give it a go?!) to every movement, look or breath by the actors, there is no room for mistakes. Fiennes is very much on top of his game as the flamboyant concierge. His chemistry with Tony Revolori as the young Zero is undeniable. Even the all start list of actors making appearances here and there didn't become distracting. For all we care, Adrien Brody's moustached character could've spent more time on the screen. Though supposedly we would've lost our focus then... Would we have wanted a story as touching as Anderson's previous films? For sure. It doesn't change the fact Wes Anderson as a director is near flawless. Trailer:
For the ones with a sweet tooth.
Here's a mini documentary as cute as Anderson's films. It discusses a few of the key elements in his work. At only 10 minutes long it's hardly a definitive explanation but it draws attention to things that might otherwise be easy to miss. It's most certainly worth a watch.