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Friday
Mar282014

Movie Review: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

Fox Searchlight(NEW YORK) -- Wes Anderson has no equal. His lovely, colorful, tightly choreographed aesthetic is instantly recognizable and always precious. With The Grand Budapest Hotel, he's never been more so.

This narrative is so uniquely Wes Anderson that, if it were any more Anderson, I’d say it was somebody trying to rip off Anderson. As the film begins, we see a woman enter a town park, where she pays tribute to an author at the author’s statue. We then see the Author (Tom Wilkinson) sitting at a desk, reciting a script off of a card, seemingly into a camera, recalling a story he heard some years ago. 

Back in time we go, where the Author is now a young writer, played by Jude Law, at the Grand Budapest Hotel. Once a resort destination for the very rich and famous, it’s now a pink shell of its former self, a place where the odd business-person or tourist might stay, but no longer filled to capacity. It's here the writer meets Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who over dinner tells him how he came to own the hotel.

Farther back in time we go, where we meet M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the F-bomb-dropping concierge of the hotel in the 1920s and 30s, and the heart of our story. What a character: a flamboyant fellow who keeps the elderly female clientele coming back for more by sleeping with them. M. Gustave takes young Zero, a hotel lobby boy, under his wing, teaching him the tricks of the trade and doling out important life lessons. As Zero and M. Gustave’s relationship flourishes, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), one of M. Gustave’s favorite octogenarians, drops dead. Much to her family’s dismay, she's left M. Gustave a valuable painting. Standing in the way of that inheritance is Dmitri (Adrien Brody), Madame D.’s psychotic son, who employs a toothless henchman, played by Willem Dafoe, to do his dirty work.

M. Gustave is accused of murdering Madame D. and thrown in prison, where he'll attempt to escape with the aid of an eclectic group of fellow inmates. Zero does what he can from the outside, while also forging an adorable relationship with Saoirse Ronan’s pastry chef, Agatha. 

Filled with delightful slapstick, several dark twists and a hilarious visual palette that unapologetically appeals to your inner child, The Grand Budapest Hotel is everything you've ever loved about Wes Anderson, and then some. Fiennes' M. Gustave is quirky perfection and Tony Revolori as young Zero serves as his delicious foil. Put The Grand Budapest Hotel on your itinerary: you're going to be thrilled you stayed there. 

Four and a half out of five stars.

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