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The Grand Budapest Hotel

2014-12-10 10:40
What it's about:

This film recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustava, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, a raging battle for an enormous family fortune, a desperate chase on motorcycles, trains, sleds, and skis, and the sweetest confection of a love affair — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

What we thought:

It is quite refreshing that in a time where prequels and sequels reign supreme, Wes Anderson comes and hits us with a movie of a totally different kind.

Best known for his distinct visual and narrative style Anderson doesn’t disappoint.

It’s the story about a pink luxury hotel on a mountain peak set in the fictitious Republic of Zubrowka at the brink of the Second World War.

With four different time periods within a single story, the plot is quite intricate. It starts out in present day and then moves to the 80s, the 60s and the 30s, where the bulk of the story takes place. For each time period a different screen format is used.

It starts out in present day where we see a young girl visiting the monument of “The Author.” We then see the author (Tom Wilkinson) in 1985 talking about his visit to a luxury hotel in the 1960s.The hotel ravaged by time has lost its former glory.

A subtle change in the narration and screen format heralds another change as we hear and see a younger version of the author played by Jude Law who meets the owner of the hotel, Zero Moustafa (F Murray Abraham) who recounts the tale of how he became the owner.

It is here where the story begins and we are whisked to the 1930s during the heyday of the hotel where we meet the main character, the legendary concierge Gustav (Ralph Fiennes) and a younger Zero (Tony Revolori) who is a lobby boy at the hotel.

Gustave is an interesting character, one which you cannot help but like and dislike at the same time. He has an air of self important bravado; he is long winded always lecturing his staff about good manners and customer service. Talking about customer service, Gustave is a bit of a gigolo who services the needs of the hotels elderly female clients. There is also another side to his personality, he stands for all those old world values; courage, common decency and standing up for what is right. He won me over in the first train scene where he valiantly defends Zero against fascist soldiers.

Gustave H is Ralph Fiennes at his best as the main character. He carries the full weight of the film and does a brilliant job , portraying this comic role with elegance.  

The story is largely based on Gustav trying to clear his name after he was wrongfully accused of the murder of one of his clients Madame D (Tilda Swinton). It is filled with awesome action scenes: shootouts, a prison break and chases.

The villains are played by Adrian Brody as Madame D’s son Dimitri and William Dafoe as Joling his henchman who does all the dirty work.  Dafoe is menacing as he he stalks people, cuts off their heads and chops off their fingers.

This film is a visual and narrative feast, there is such a lot going on that you cannot lose interest. It explores themes of betrayal, family feuding, murder and doomed love. It is also very nostalgic and somewhat reminiscent of a time that is long gone but in actual fact, just like the fictitious republic and the historical setting, it never really existed.

A visual and narrative treat, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a movie you cannot afford to miss.
Read more on:    ralph fiennes  |  adrien brody  |  movies

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