Starring: Tony Revolori, Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Mathieu Amalric, F. Murray Abraham, Jason Schwartzman and Jude Law
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
The Grand Budapest Hotel is presented as the work of a man simply referred to as Author (Played by Tom Wilkinson and Jude Law) who whilst staying in the titular hotel in its later, dilapidated days, comes across its owner Mr. Moustfa (F. Murray Abraham) who tells the young writer the story of how he came to be owner of the hotel. A story that begins with him as a young lobby boy (Tony Revolori) under the services of the infamous Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy regarding the inheritance of an old frequenter of the hotel Madame D. (Tilda Swinton)
The Grand Budapest Hotel has an absolutely incredible ensemble cast. Despite it being so early in the year I doubt there will be many ensembles more impressive than this one. From top to bottom you have wonderful actors turning in wonderful performances. The one that is expectedly and rightfully getting the most attention, is the performance of Ralph Fiennes. Not known for his comedic abilities (As joked about in this teaser trailer for Cemetery Junction, perhaps planting the seeds for Fiennes’ role in this) Ralph Fiennes is absolutely hilarious as the pretentious, precious, manipulative and lovable Monsieur Gustave. Whilst aided by Anderson’s wonderful dialogue, Fiennes is absolutely perfect in this role and delivers what is my favourite performance of his career.
Tony Revolori makes his debut here as the young Mr. Moustafa (Known as Zero). Following the breakthroughs of Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson has been introducing brilliant young actors and actresses to the big screen and big audiences. Fiennes and Revolori are a wonderful double act, with the film in many ways being a ‘bromance’ between their two characters. The real romance of the film rests between Zero and Agatha (Played by Saoirse Ronan), which while sweet, can’t help but pale in comparison to the work that Wes did regarding young love in his preceding effort, Moonrise Kingdom.
Regarding the film’s antagonists, we may already have a contender for the cinematic villain of 2014. Willem Dafoe is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious as Jopling, throwing cats out of windows, punching little boys and robbing people of their fingers. He is a Terminator-like force throughout the film and is clearly having much fun in a role that allows him to be the muscle and the pantomime villain of the piece.
Moving away from the performances, as a whole review could be written just detailing the cast, and onto the wonderful work of Wes Anderson. Once again Anderson’s dialogue is as easy and exciting on the ears as his visuals are to your eyes. With the quirks, eccentricities and flourishes in his dialogue falling onto the right side of funny. There are some instantly quotable lines from this film that are sure to keep you laughing whenever you remember them. However what Anderson gets little credit for, is his ability to stage a successful set piece. When his name was mentioned as a possible candidate for directing the Spider-Man reboot, many were confused and understandably amused. Leading to the creation of this brilliant spoof video. Watching Grand Budapest Hotel, it is easy to see why studio executives could think of him for such films despite the nature of his work. There are two scenes in particular in this film that show just how good a Wes Anderson horror and action film could be. A chase through a museum involving Willem Dafoe’s Jopling and Jeff Goldblum’s Deputy Kovacks, is one of the most tense scenes of this young year. Assisted by Alexandre Desplat’s score, the scene delightfully builds to a finger-clenching crescendo. Furthermore, another scene involving Dafoe’s Jopling is a ski-chase. It is a sequence that screams Wes Anderson, which manages the feat of being both absurd and yet genuinely exciting.
As is to be expected from a Wes Anderson production, technically this film is an absolute triumph. The production design is amongst the best you’ll ever see, the cinematography is exquisite, the costumes suitably grandiose yet not garish and in the case of this film, the make-up is monumental stuff. Yes, the make-up. In this film the make-up work done on Tilda Swinton is stunning. It’s been shown time and again in films that old-age make-up on young actors and actresses does not work particularly well however in this, there is work that I am confident will be Oscar nominated if not Oscar winning. And whilst award nominations are no barometer of a quality and a field of speculation we have just refreshingly left for another year, if remembered come year’s end Grand Budapest Hotel could be a nomination leader, such is its excellence in music, costumes, production, cinematography, make-up, writing, directing and acting.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is not without its issues however. As hinted at, the film didn’t move me emotionally as much as something like Moonrise Kingdom, a work that overcame a lot of my prior issues with the work of Wes Anderson. Whilst I am not sure the three levels of its narrative were necessary. However these are minor quibbles in what despite that may be my favourite Wes Anderson offering to date, and a film I have already seen twice and look forward to seeing many times more.
Movie Parliament Rating: MAJORITY GOVERNMENT
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,
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