I would admit that despite having particular interest in movies, I rarely stray too far from the typical Hollywood movies or one of those that not so typical but was blessed with the appearance of a certain on-screen-crush of mine. So although I’ve heard of Wes Anderson’s movie and was urged to watch it by my dear friend anascy, I never really pick up on the interest until I saw this candy-like hotel in the movie poster. And of course, because it’s holiday.
A female student approach the statue of a known author, and began reading a book by the said author. In the book, the author (Tom Wilkinson) recount the tale that he heard before during a visit to Grand Budapest Hotel. The hotel, despite it’s lavish past, has now fallen into a hard time. During his stay, the then-young author (Jude Law) chance upon Grand Budapest’s owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) himself. Out of genuine curiosity, the author ask Moustafa about the story of how he come to own the hotel.
Thus, over dinner, Moustafa recount the tale of the hotel during it’s glory days, about it’s legendary concierge M. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and his faithful lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori).
The Grand Budapest Hotel is my first introduction to Wes Anderson’s movies, and to say that I like it is an understatement. I was enchanted by the picturesque universe that Wes Anderson brought to life, and I quickly got sucked into his adventurous tale of two young men that would soon became trusted friends and sworn brothers.
The story itself was not your typical Hollywood three stages drama, much to my delight. It may be derived from that usual formula, but it’s the way Wes Anderson recount it that makes the story far more interesting and captivating. I found myself on the edge of my seat, curious as to how the story would unfold. And truly, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness doesn’t disappoint for they wrote such a marvelous account of M. Gustave’s adventure. From the very beginning, they got my curiosity on M. Gustave’s persona, luring me to know more about him and without realizing, I’ve fallen for his charm, just like his special guests.
His story, however, was so much more than the skin deep charming concierge he appeared to be. It was a enchanting story, with twist and turn in every corner. Especially with the appearance of Zero that just capture your sympathy from the very first moment. Grand Budapest Hotel got me really caring about the fate of it’s two heroes, while at the same time anxious to know what would happen next. Not to mention that this movie was cleverly funny, with tons of cute moments that worth squealing over, and yet still managing to be both thrilling and tugging at your heartstrings at the right times.
This movie, however, should really thank the beautiful ensemble of a cast that it managed to gather. Ralph Fiennes is the literal star of the movie, smoothly delivering the stylish-with-a-tad-of-control-freak-obsession M. Gustave H. He was charming in more ways than one, his rapid-fire words are music to the ear, and the way he could jump from utterly mad to heartbroken on moment’s notice is just extraordinary. And then there’s Tony Revolori, the little hero that could easily fall on “beware the nice ones” tropes. He’s so nice, innocent, and yet at times you could see the hardness underneath him. And I really love his nonchalant attitude, especially when he’s suggesting an idea that may or may not be categorized as breaking the law.
Then there’s anxious Tilda Swinton as Madame D., whose death triggered the events that would commence in the movie. There’s the devoted Edward Norton as duty bound and perfectly capable Inspector Henckles. The lovable Saoirse Ronan as Agatha who manages to be both quietly lovely and stubbornly brave at the same time. There’s also menacing Adrien Brody as Dmitri, who, really, could not have been more obvious with his role as the villain. Despite their limited screen time, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, and Tom Wilkinson all leave quite an imprint with their respective roles. And of course, you could not possibly forget Willem Dafoe as Jopling. His line may not be much – minimal, even – but he left a really deep impression with his presence alone. He’s the scene stealer and frankly, one of the sparks that made this movie a total joy to watch. Oh, and there’s a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo from none other than George Clooney in one of it’s final scenes.
Last but not least, Wes Anderson presented The Grand Budapest Hotel a real eye-candy. The shot are just picture perfect, beautiful and pleasing in every way. Especially with the candy colored theme that it seems to endorsed, I just love the scenes at the hotel where bright colors run rampant and yet still manage to fall on the pretty spectrum. Not to mention the clothes, each with it’s own distinguish style that represent their owner. Really, Grand Budapest Hotel captivated me with it’s lavish style, both in it’s appearance and the story. And for me, it’s a perfect introduction to Wes Anderson, a piece that piqued my interest on his other works.
Director: Wes Anderson. Writer: Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness. Released on: 6 February 2014. Casts: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan.