Wes Anderson returns to our screens with his latest effort The Grand Budapest Hotel, which he both wrote and directed, although based it off the works of Stefan Zweig. It’s being described by many as the most Wes Anderson, Wes Anderson movie yet and if you go and see it you might quickly understand why.
Set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka the film has an incredibly complex framing system that is essentially a frame within a frame. As an author, his older self portrayed by Tom Wilkinson and his younger self by Jude Law, remembers back on the occasion when he was told a story by F. Murray Abraham’s Zero Mustafa about his childhood and how he came to own the Grand Budapest Hotel. There he was employed as a lobby boy, with his younger incarnation played by Tony Revolori, under the care of Ralph Fiennes gloriously eccentric concierge Gustave. As Gustave takes the young Zero under his wing as his protégé, he drags him into a situation that see’s the two of them involved with a dangerous family, desperate to get back the legendary painting “Boy With Apple” which Gustave inherited from one of the many old women who stayed at, and were romanced, at the Grand Budapest.
The plot is really secondary in this film. From the rather elaborate framing devices right down to the McGuffin at it’s centre none of it really matters and is instead window dressing on the expertly crafted comedy that is at the centre of it all. Everything here is put together meticulously and the world that Anderson has created is as insane and as wonderfully crafted as you are likely to see in a movie this year. At times the locations feel like they’ve walked straight out of a Roald Dahl book and in fact the entire film feels like an old book in which everything has settled perfectly into its place in the world.
If you’ve seen Wes Anderson’s work in the past and disliked it then you should stay far away from this film, however, if you’ve seen it and would consider yourself a fan, or if you are a huge fan, you should get along right now. This is a genuinely funny film with Ralph Fiennes ditching his usual serious roles to prove that he can pull off comedy incredibly well. Elsewhere the numerous cameo’s from Anderson favourites, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson both appear for a few scenes, are cleverly done, never feeling like they have been thrown in just for the sake of it but rather used for the maximum effect. At a time of the year when a lot of the films slipping into the cinema are to be frank, a bit shit, The Grand Budapest Hotel stands out as a shining light and you could do a hell of a lot worse than make your way down to see it.