Check into “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

It appears that Wes Anderson has finally solidified his filmmaking style and signature with his latest venture, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Movie poster. Image from IMDb.
Movie poster. Image from IMDb.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” stars Ralph Fiennes in his first Anderson film as Gustave H., the concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, who teams up with his lobby boy to prove his innocence after he’s wrongly arrested for murder. The star-studded cast also includes Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray.

This film, like all of Anderson’s previous works, is a visual extravaganza. The use of symmetry and minimalism is evident within each shot, and the pastel palette is used perfectly. “Grand Budapest” is Anderson’s more polished “Moonrise Kingdom,” and the director has obviously become comfortable within his stylistic range.

This film contains drastic changes from Anderson’s previous works, with an increased amount of violence and vulgar language. Not only are there multiple murders, but also a beheading, swift removal of fingers by a door slam and an impossible-to-survive fall off a snowy cliff. The use of vulgar language in this film is also abundant, with curses peppering nearly every other sentence uttered in the film (especially by Gustave H).

Another element foreign to an Anderson movie is also present here: evil. Throughout the film, Gustave H. and Zero the lobby boy, played by newcomer Tony Revolori, are chased by J.G. Jopling, a cold-blooded assassin played by Anderson alumnus Willem Dafoe.  This is the first real presence of a villain in an Anderson film, and it presents a different, darker tone for viewers.

While I’m a Wes Anderson fanatic and a lover of his films since 1998’s “Rushmore,” the violence presented in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was jarring for me to watch. His films are simply not as violent or permeated by evil forces as this one was. However, I found this to be a refreshing change in Anderson’s filmography, and quite enjoyed the lively whodunit caper that he presented.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a wonderful, violent, darkly comedic film, full of vibrant characters and rapid-fire one-liners sure to be quoted for many years to come.

Rating: 4/5 stars