Let’s get one thing out in the open right away: I’m a Wes Anderson fan. Tenenbaums? Moonrise Kingdom? Mr. Fox? I love the look and style of his movies. How well each frame is arranged and thought through. So the fact that I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel shouldn’t really surprise anyone. But there’s one other thing to get out in the open quickly, as well: Anderson movies, while lovely and fun and interesting and artistic and thought provoking, also often have some content in them that will offend some. They’re often rated R. Not for pervasive sexuality or non-stop swearing. This isn’t Boogie Nights or Goodfellas, people. But there’ll be random scenes or shots that will shock you in a moment and then they’re gone. Do I personally wish he’d tone it back a bit? Yes. I think he could still do exactly what he does without having the occasional swear word or sex image.
But he obviously feels differently, and that’s his right.
With those disclaimers out of the way, let me say why I loved the Grand Budapest so much. It’s a heist movie, people. A Wes Anderson heist movie. Take a favorite director, add a favorite genre, and it’s a total Christmas gift to me. Ralph Fiennes plays a concierge of the titular hotel, and when one of his patrons passes away, he ends up stealing an invaluable piece of art. Sort of. It’s complicated, like any other Anderson movie. And I also don’t want to give too much away.
The film has a lovely Eastern European flair (and I discovered after the fact that the bulk of it was filmed where I served my mission in Germany–Gorlitz, in case you were wondering. Can the movie get any better for me?). The settings are perfect, the buildings are gorgeous–such a well put together movie. The acting is also spot on, with a great performance by Fiennes, and notable roles for Willem Defoe, Adrian Brody, Bill Murray (though not enough–more of a cameo than anything), Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Saorise Ronan, Edward Nortan, and Tilda Swinton.
Great acting, great directing–what else do you need? Great writing. And the movie has that in spades, as well. Fascinating dialogue and narration, little in-jokes sprinkled throughout to keep even the slow parts entertaining.
Honestly, I wish I could unreservedly recommend this movie to everyone. I know so many people who would adore it, but who I don’t feel like I can encourage them to see it, and all for about 15 seconds total of the 100 minute movie. If it were only 15 seconds all at once, 0r 15 seconds that I could describe where not to look, but it isn’t. It’s flashes and images splashed up 7 or 8 times through the movie, and they’re shocking enough to stop me from making that unreserved recommendation.
Still, if you’re not put off by that warning, or you can somehow find an edited version of this at some point, this really isn’t a movie you want to miss at all. 9/10 from yours truly.
Anyone else seen it? What did you think?