Director Wes Anderson with Jude Law on the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The imagination of Wes Anderson could qualify as a section of Disneyland. His signature style is his quirky storytelling that’s always funny, deadpan, and understated, while his visuals capture a sense of exaggeration and caricature that we seem to view through a surreal telescopic lens. With a roster of movies that includes Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson serves up his latest installation, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Staged in pre-WWII Europe, Budapest is an expectedly unpredictable narrative story within a story that’s got a life all its own. It’s a high-speed fantasy about a prestigious fictional hotel and its eccentric concierge, Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), who is outrageous in his social habits and meticulous with details. It’s also about Zero, his devoted lobby boy (Tony Revolori). Budapest moves at roller-coaster velocity that requires high-speed listening to catch the clever quips as they fly by. The antics are silly, funny, and crazy. And if you check your logic at the door, you’ll indulge in a tale that revels in its own irrational rationality.
The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Since the filmmakers couldn’t locate a suitable hotel for shooting the movie, they generated a custom image of a vast, castle-like exterior that reminds us of a dollhouse. Its pink façade is echoed by the pink pastry boxes from Mendl’s Bakery, which plays a prominent role in the story. The characters, the fast dialogue, and the make-believe hotel all serve the frivolous texture of the story that aims to please and entertain without taking any of it seriously. Budapest is delivered by a top-notch cast including Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, and then some. While the Wes Anderson brand is not necessarily for everyone, you have to admire his playful sense of story. And whether it’s your taste or not, Budapest delivers a most unusual, well-crafted adventure. A