Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, and Edward Norton
Director: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson is known for his quirky style of filmmaking, and in The Grand Budapest Hotel, it’s shown here more than ever in this Oscar nominated near-masterpiece released in 2014. Having one of the most consistent filmographies in cinema can be as much a bad thing as it is a good thing. Wes Anderson is one of these directors; he’s never made a bad film at all, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon, thankfully. However, because he’s so good, the bar keeps rising each time, but by no means does he fail, and especially in the case of The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s clearly at his best here.
The film begins with the confrontation of Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and an unnamed young writer, played by Jude Law. Zero tells his story of how he started off as a young lobby boy and how he worked his way up through the ranks to eventually own the Grand Budapest. The film is then told through flashbacks, framed in a unique 16 x 9 ratio, and in very little exposition. We get taken on an exciting journey hosted by a young Zero (Tony Revolori) and M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), where we are detailed on their acts of mischief and growing relationship. And it’s definitely an interesting one!
Ralph Fiennes gives, possibly, the best performance of 2014, and how he wasn’t awarded with an Oscar is a ridiculous mistake by the academy. Not enough people are talking about his performance; it never gets mentioned in conversation of the best character portrayals — and it should. Fiennes is the best part of the movie, and he creates such an enjoyable atmosphere with his charisma and line delivery. His character is colourful and full of mystery, and his accent makes it even better! Every time he speaks, there’s always some humour behind it, simply because he has such a dead-pan demeanour, and Fiennes makes it work perfectly.
Tony Revolori plays the young lobby boy in his debut film. And he’s quite brilliant as well. The partnership of Gustave and Zero is explored so thoroughly and it’s such a treat to watch it develop — thanks to Anderson’s outstanding direction. His method of storytelling and choice of framing makes his magnum opus stand out from other films in this decade. This, combined with the vibrant, colourful cinematography makes The Grand Budapest Hotel quite a terrific motion picture. Maybe too quirky for it’s own good, however there is still such an enjoyable experience to be had by, maybe not everyone, but definitely by young film students who want to see something different from the typical big-budget blockbuster we see far too many of nowadays.