Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel (M15+) (USA, 2014)

the grand budapest

Stylistically, Wes Anderson remains one of the most exciting directors in the business, constantly infusing imagination into each and every one of his whimsical masterpieces. In many ways, The Grand Budapest Hotel supplants his classic works likes Fantastic Mr Fox and The Darjeeling Limited to shine as Anderson’s greatest film to date. 100 minutes just isn’t enough for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and it’s one of those rare films which you could watch for hours on end and still find new things to love.

Everything from the clever use of fluid stop-motion to miniatures places the cinematography as the finest in a Wes Anderson film, adding a certain nuance to the story which is intriguing until the very end. The film’s colour palatte and the impressively grand baroque architectural set are outstanding achievements, and create an airy cartoonish quality which is balanced against and grounded by stunning realism as this multi-era adventure unfolds in glorious fashion.

The film recounts the journey of The Grand Budapest Hotel’s flamboyant concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) – a naive lobby boy who quickly becomes Gustave’s most valued friend. Set off by a retelling of the events by an aged Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) in a scene with Jude Law playing a casual young writer, The Grand Budapest Hotel’s journey drives with the excitement of a murder mystery and delves into a little art-thieving caper for good measure.

As Gustave and Zero are set into a world of uniquely European escapades by a dead woman’s will, we are given William Defaoe as a ruthless hitman; an absurd prison break scenario; and an endearing comedy of errors that mixes in as much slapstick as it does sharp and incredibly witty dialogue.

Across the film we see many elements which have grown to become expected of a Wes Anderson piece. The production is splendid and imaginative; the design of each and every character is engaging and brimming with personality; and a short cameo from Bill Murray plays into the cult-like need for consistency in Wes’ body of work.

The scripts each character is given must have been perfected by a literary genius; almost every line flows with creativity while remaining accessible and easy to understand. From the accurate description of Gustave as a “liberally perfumed man” to didactic pockets of wisdom like “The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved and they will open up like a flower”, the writing in The Grand Budapest Hotel shines right alongside every other element to add to the exceptional quality of the film.

The enchanting air that carries you through until the credits will ensure The Grand Budapest Hotel is a movie one wouldn’t ever want to forget. From the eccentricities of peripheral characters playing by the likes of Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum to the touching and quirky father-son relationship between Gustave and Zero, everything in this film works perfectly and it’s truly a marvel achievement as far as artistic, quirky cinema goes.


Runtime: 100 Minutes

The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in Australian cinemas as of today (10 April 2014)


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.