Lowdown: In a world on the brink, the manager of a grand hotel goes to great lengths.
If you’ve seen one Wes Anderson movie, you would know what to expect out of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Between The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr Fox, you should know what I’m talking about when I say this director’s style is both unique and eccentric. Frankly, I am no fan; but that only meant I was pleasantly surprised by The Grand Budapest Hotel, a movie that actually makes sense of Anderson's style.
The Grand Budapest Hotel incorporates the best of Anderson’s idiosyncrasies, such as the long shot, the weird set and the odd camera movement. Into this Anderson adds the extra complexity of telling us a story within a story within a story. He manages it by varying the image’s aspect ratios, which feeds back into the story, which helps create a positive feedback loop, which positively helps…
We start off with the narrator, a writer (Jude Law), whose contemporary-ish visit a grand hotel in what seems to be old communist Europe gets our story rolling. There he meets the eccentric current owner of the hotel (F. Murray Abraham), who tells him of the place’s history. That story takes place when the owner’s character was a young bellboy employed by the hotel’s then manager (Ralph Fiennes). Fiennes’ is a character that likes the sound of his own voice but, most importantly, likes to put the needs of the hotel’s visitors above everything else. This unique world he lives in becomes endangered through wars and greedy hotel owner family members, which sends manager and bellboy through a tumultuous journey full of interesting cameos by very famous stars.
If The Grand Budapest Hotel is trying to convey some elaborate messages as it goes along then these managed to completely miss me. What this movie did convey, and very satisfyingly, is a sense of entertainment, the result of the fantastically convoluted stories and the magnificent tapestry of actors doing a wonderful job each, led, as they are, by MC Ralph Fiennes.
Best scene: In case you were wondering how it is that certain people always manage to get the a last minute tickets to something no one else can get near to, wonder no more; The Grand Budapest Hotel explains exactly how this is done (with the aid of several helper cameos, including Bill Murray).
Overall: Between invoking impressions of an old Europe and an exciting story, The Grand Budapest hotel provides for 3.5 out of 5 well entertained crabs.