Just a quick little review here, since the film came out a month ago already. Grand Budapest Hotel, as a movie, is perfectly in sync with the elaborate and ornate structure of the actual Grand Budapest Hotel– fact, it’s a level beyond that, perhaps even with sculpted and stacked bakery confections that serve as a recurring theme and important plot point.
It’s a movie with filigree. Like all Wes Anderson movies, there’s every scene is so carefully manicured that there’s a layer of intentional artifice. Grand Budapest Hotel, the most Wes Anderson movie to date, also as more obvious camerawork than I can remember in his other movies (and him as a director known for obvious camerwork at that). Any time the camera isn’t capturing a still, perfectly symmetrical shot, it’s swinging around wildly to go from one face to another and back again.
There are three framing stories and far more plot than the average movie of its length. Most of it revolves around Mr. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge at the eponymous hotel, and his lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori, who is fantastic). Gustave is the veritable king of the hotel and has as his concubines a series of wealthy, elderly women. When one of them dies, in spite of her age, unexpectedly (Tilda Swinton), Gustave inherits a priceless painting. Her son (Adrian Brody) disapproves, and sends his henchman (Willem Dafoe) after them. It’s also about Europe between the wars, first love, imprisonment, and providing really excellent hotel service. For an idea of how many really insanely famous people there are in this movie, you have to click “See full cast” on IMDB before getting to the name of the actual main character.
Grand Budapest Hotel is also a touch darker than Anderson’s other movies. They all have some dark parts to them, but this one has a) more violent, explicit swearing than I remember in others and b) more violent, explicit violence. Still no sex, though, because all sex and most love takes place off screen in these movies.
If you like other Wes Anderson movies, you’ll like this. If you don’t like his other movies, you won’t like this. If you’ve never seen one before, this is a perfectly representative place to start.