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April 6, 2014 | 9:11 p.m. CST
Known for his whimsical style and patented cinematic drama, Wes Anderson is without a doubt one of the most talented filmmakers out there. Not only does he allow his rather kooky imagination to drive his artistic films, but he also asks the audience to follow him as he unravels something beautiful and a bit strange. If you’ve never seen any of Anderson’s films, please make The Grand Budapest Hotel your first.
A narrative within a narrative, this wonderful blend of humor, sensuality and the occasional F-word set the tone for what will likely be a classic within American filmmaking. This caper is set in Zubrowka, a fictionalized European nation that Anderson treats as the height of old-world charm. There are castles, fantastically elaborate pastries in pink boxes, mustaches and an air of wealth that emanates from the film. Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is the title character of Anderson’s wicked creation and is likely one of the funniest, most provocative personalities to ever hit the screen. He works as the all-knowing concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel and, in between conning rich older women into bed (and likely a few men), he lives by a code of service, elegance, manners, a fine bottle of bubbly and romantic poetry. He’s a total scoundrel, too, but in a way that only adds to the magnetism of his character.
When Zero (Tony Revolori) comes to the hotel as the new lobby boy, Monsieur Gustave takes him under his wing and becomes something of a confidante and mentor for the young and displaced boy with no family, friends or money. Although the plot is complicated at times, the jist of it follows Monsieur Gustave and Zero on their haphazard adventures as they attempt to reclaim Gustave’s rightful inheritance from his former lover, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton); namely, a hilariously awful portrait titled “Boy with Apple.” From here, a cast of deliciously delightful characters are thrown into the mix, including the one and only Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum and Saoirse Ronan.
Fans of Anderson will rejoice at his classic elements, including the cinematography, fanciful characters and stylized melodrama. In short, I couldn’t recommend this film more; it’s endlessly charming, witty and hilarious all at once.