The Grand Budapest Hotel ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
The Grand Budapest Hotel was directed by Wes Anderson and is based on the works of author Stefan Zweig (1881-1942). It concerns M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, a luxurious mountain hotel that, even in 1932, was the symbol of a vanishing age. New to the hotel is a “lobby boy” named Zero, a wide-eyed “refugee” whose family was murdered and who is smarter than he appears to be. He becomes M. Gustave’s trusted friend and confident and is always by his side in whatever situation he finds himself.
Among the wealthy patrons of the hotel are one Madame M. (Tilda Swinton), an eighty-four-year-old grande dame who enjoys the attentions and even the sexual favors of M. Gustave. (Bedding rich old patrons is something he doesn’t seem to mind doing.) When Madame M. dies, she bequeaths to M. Gustave a priceless painting called Boy with Apple. Her villainous son (Adrien Brody) and her three strange daughters take exception to this bequest, of course. Her entire will, in fact, is so confusing and has been changed so many times that nobody can figure it out. M. Gustave takes the painting that Madame M. wanted him to have and eventually winds up in jail, where he manages to pull off an ingenious escape through a sewer with several of his fellow inmates.
If you are familiar with any of the directorial efforts of Wes Anderson (The Fabulous Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, among others), you know that he has a distinctive visual style that must be seen to be appreciated. It incorporates elements of the fantastic with whimsy, irony, and subtle humor. The Grand Budapest Hotel is an art film that is not for everybody and will probably not be playing at the multiplex theatre in your neighborhood that shows only mainstream movies. Various adjectives that might be applied to The Grand Budapest Hotel are “quaint,” “eccentric,” “charming,” “unusual,” “quirky.” I know people who would also call it “weird” and “far out” and would be completely flummoxed from first frame to last. If, however, you are one of those who likes things a little off-kilter and oddly tilted and, let us say, “outside the norm,” then you should probably get in line to buy your ticket.
Copyright © 2014 by Allen Kopp