RELEASED: 7th March 2014
DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson
CAST: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Giselda Volodi, Waris Ahluwalia, Neal Huff, Lisa Kreuzer, Florian Lukas, Karl Markovics, Larry Pine, Daniel Steiner, Fisher Stevens and Wallace Wolodarsky
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $174.6m
AWARDS: 4 Academy Awards (Best Costume Design, Best Makeup/Hair, Best Original Score and Best Production Design), 1 Golden Globe (Best Film Comedy/Musical) and 5 BAFTAs (Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Makeup/Hair and Best Original Screenplay)
The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the story of an author paying a visit to a luxurious hotel in 1968, which is located in the European mountainous country formerly known as Zubrowka. The hotel appears to have fallen on hard times and the author meets with the current owner, M. Zero Moustafa, who recounts the story of how he became the hotel’s owner and why he keeps it open, with his story beginning in 1932 when the hotel was in its golden era and Zero was a lobby boy under the guidance of M. Gustave H. and how the story revolves around a painting called ‘Boy with Apple’.
Of the three features that Wes Anderson brought out last decade, for me the one that stood out the most was The Grand Budapest Hotel. The film focuses on an elderly M. Zero Moustafa telling the author, whose staying at the hotel, of how he came to own The Grand Budapest Hotel and from the moment we step into the hotel, we’re transported to a rich, colourful world in 1932 and we follow characters that are just as rich and colourful as their surroundings, which was primarily filmed between Berlin and Görlitz, using the vacant Görlitzer Warenhaus, using the atrium there as as a double for the Grand Budapest Hotel lobby. The production design and art direction is terrific from Adam Stockhausen, Stephan O. Gessler, Gerald Sullivan and Steve Summersgill. It’s been known that Wes Anderson is very meticulous with every fame and that attention to detail is as precise as ever here, with his direction complimented by the fantastic score composed by Alexandre Desplat. The screenplay is fantastic as well, I was completely captivated by every word, especially in the long monologues here and there. The film is filled with rich and wonderful characters, from Tony Revolori as young Zero Moustafa, to Adrien Brody as Dimitri, Willem Dafoe as Jopling, Saoirse Ronan as Agatha, F. Murray Abraham as older Zero, and Jeff Goldblum as Kovacs. The standout performer of the film however is Ralph Fiennes as the Grand Budapest Hotel’s concierge Monsieur Gustave H. Fiennes, he’s absolutely hilarious in the role and it’s a shame he never got the recognition he deserved for his performance during awards season.
FAVOURITE SCENE: Kovacs attempts to lose Jopling in the Kunstmuseum. The sequence is really well done, from the framing of the shots to the effective use of the lighting and editing.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “There are still faint glimmers of civilisation left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity… He was one of them. What more is there to say?” – Zero Moustafa
DID YOU KNOW: The erotic painting hung in place of “Boy with Apple” mimics the style of the early 20th century Austrian painter, Egon Schiele. It was created by illustrator Rich Pellegrino, a regular contributor to San Francisco’s annual “Bad Dads” exhibit of artwork inspired by the movies of writer/director Wes Anderson. The painting’s official title is “Two Lesbians Masturbating”.