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The Grand Budapest Hotel

The old, snide rejoinder to an over-decorated show is that “you leave humming the sets,” but Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel may be the first movie where you come out tasting them. The titular Alpine resort is the most edible-looking lodge in cinema: a multitiered, pink-frosted castle designed to endure as an ambrosial memory. Our hero, M. Gustave, is the dapper concierge running the Grand Budapest front desk and back halls. He’s played by Ralph Fiennes with such flowery cosmopolitanism that you can almost see the cloud of cologne drifting behind him as he scurries to his next boudoir appointment with a rich dowager. I’d love to recite an ode to The Grand Budapest Hotel, because it’s the most politically aware story Anderson has told. It’s set in an imaginary Middle European country in the 1930s, at the edge of war. Its story, a silly caper, brushes against the deepest horrors of the 20th century, and ends by acknowledging irrevocable damage. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing. The Grand Budapest Hotel confirms the split of Anderson’s work into three distinct periods. His earliest pictures (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums) feature perpetual teenagers play-acting at the ideal lives they can’t quite maintain. His second act (The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited) follows spoiled men globe-trekking for purpose. And then, starting with Fantastic Mr. Fox, come the fairy tales. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and Budapest all include the same elements: stop-motion, maps, tunnels, and heroes marching at right angles and dangling from great heights. What they don’t have are characters who talk to each other. And with the exception of the fantastically realized M. Gustave, they don’t reveal their essence by actions. Who are these beautiful visitors in The Grand Budapest Hotel? They’re meant to be ghosts, but they shouldn’t be strangers. We stick out our tongues to catch the shimmering snowflakes, and taste only air.

Special Note

Cinema 21
  • Genres: Comedy drama
  • Running Time: 99 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, March 7, 2014
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Some Sexual Content, Violence ]
  • Critic's Score: B+
  • Starring: Ralph Fiennes [M. Gustave H.], F. Abraham [Mr. Moustafa], Mathieu Amalric [Serge], Adrien Brody [Dmitri], Willem Dafoe [Jopling], Jeff Goldblum [Kovacs], Jude Law [Young Writer], Harvey Keitel [Ludwig], Bill Murray [M. Ivan], Edward Norton [Henckels], Saoirse Ronan [Agatha], Jason Schwartzman [M. Jean], Tilda Swinton [Madame D.], Tom Wilkinson [Author], Owen Wilson [M. Chuck], Tony Revolori [Zero]
  • Directed by: Wes Anderson [Director], Wes Anderson [Screenwriter], Wes Anderson [Producer], Scott Rudin [Producer], Steven Rales [Producer], Jeremy Dawson [Producer], Molly Cooper [Executive Producer], Charlie Woebcken [Executive Producer], Christoph Fisser [Executive Producer], Henning Molfenter [Executive Producer], Robert Yeoman [Cinematographer], Barney Pilling [Film Editor], Alexandre Desplat [Original Music], Adam Stockhausen [Production Design], Gerald Sullivan [Supervising Art Direction], Steve Summersgill [Art Director], Anna Pinnock [Set Decoration], Milena Canonero [Costume Designer], Douglas Aibel [Casting], Jina Jay [Casting], Simone Baer [Casting], Alexandra Montag [Casting], Antoinette Boulat [Casting]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer

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