Since I saw the trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel last year, I have been itching to watch it! It came out on BlinkBox to buy, so I did :)
Directed and co-written by Wes Anderson, known for his films Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums and the animation film Fantastic Mr. Fox. This film was a typical Anderson Movie, with appearances from some of mine and his favourite actors - Jason Shwartzman, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum - to name a few.
An Author arrives at the Grand Budapest Hotel, inspired to write a book about the hotel and its golden years in the 1930’s, interested to hear why the current owner is still driving a profitless hotel. The author has dinner with with the current owner, M. Zero Moustafa, who recounts the adventures of The Grand Budapest Hotel’s legendry concierge M. Gustav, and how he came to own the hotel from being the Lobby Boy, M. Gustav’s most trusted friend and protégé.
Set in between WW1 and WW2 in a dramatically changing climate in Europe; A major strand in the narrative is the fortune M. Gustav inherits from a former resident and dear friend of The Grand Budapest Hotel. M. Gustav treated all his guests like royalty and would provide them with anything they wanted, especially the wealthy blonde haired women.
This fortune included a priceless Renaissance painting ‘Boy with Apple’. The ungrateful family of Madame D are distraught that a stranger has inheritted their mothers fortune, claiming that M. Gustav was scamming his guests. Gustav and Zero were left with the only option of stealing the painting for his rightful ownership
M. Gustav ends up in jail due to the mysterious circumstances around Madame D’s murder, which unveils a series of events with Zero and his girlfriend Agatha, a bakers assistant at the hotel.
The first thing that got me was the colour grading, I loved the photochrom effects; a process which was created in the 1880’s to produce colour photos from black and white negatives -
There was a lot of thought put into the colour grade - the bright, saturated look is one I would like to echo in one of my edits soon. I found an interesting interview with the colour grader Jill Bogdanowicz which you can read here.
The cinematography is flawless, in true Wes Anderson style. To dipect the different time periods, Anderson used different aspect ratios for chapters set in the 30’s, 60’s and modern day chapters. The sets were fantastically built and thought out, the humour was dry and quick witted throughout the entire film, and the casting was spot on.
M. Gustav, played by Ralph Fiennes, was the lead role and played it exceptionally well! You could not have swapped him for another actor and still do the film as much justice! His character was very loveable and funny, and his relationship with Zero, the Lobby Boy (Tony Revolori) was really romantic, in a platonic sense… although that was questionable at some points from M. Gustav’s side!
With appearances from an all star cast, a perfectly written script and a beautiful film all round, this is definitely my favourite Anderson film to date. Highly recommended and trumps most, if not all, recently released comedies.