The Grand Budapest Hotel looked like another classic from Wes Anderson. It had a great premise, an outstanding cast, and the quirky humor we expect from Mr. Anderson. Plus, the early months of the year are usually disappointing (and the past few months didn’t even have a handful of releases worth seeing in theaters). Having a film like this being released in March is a treat. While The Grand Budapest Hotel is the ridiculous flick we expected, its screenplay has some issues that bog down the movie quite a bit. Don’t let that keep you away from seeing the movie though, as this is a movie that absolutely deserves your attention.
When a man named Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is accused of murdering his lover (an 84-year-old woman), he takes his protégé, a lobby boy for The Grand Budapest Hotel named Zero (Tony Revolori), on an adventure to clear his name.
That simple straightforward story is filled with way too many characters. If you’ve seen a trailer for the movie, you know it’s jam-packed with celebrities. Unfortunately, practically each one is given a considerable amount of screen-time which makes the 100 minute movie feel too clustered. Either taking out some of those actors or making them more of the cameos they are would’ve been preferable for the movie.
Having all those characters just made the story kind of confusing. The movie gets too sidetracked at times extending the screen-time with these actors. Cutting that down and directing the attention back to Gustave and Zero would’ve made for a more enjoyable experience, especially since the real heart and soul of the movie is Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori.
Those two actors (along with the entire cast) are outstanding. Fiennes and Revolori have great chemistry and execute Wes Anderson’s great dialogue exquisitely. The rest of the cast also knocks it out of the park, especially Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum. A lot of the joy and fun of this movie comes from these performances.
A lot of that joy and fun also comes from the phenomenal cinematography. Robert Yeoman gives his best work here. As you can see from the trailer, this is a bizarre looking movie where you can tell that a lot of time and effort went into every frame. It’s absurd just how perfectly placed the camera is in every shot and it’s even more absurd how fun it is to watch. I can’t think of another movie where a huge amount of the enjoyment from the movie came from the camera shots. Major props to Robert Yeoman who I hope gets an Oscar nomination (or maybe even a win) for his excellent work here.
The movie is also very funny. The humor wasn’t as consistent as I would’ve liked it to be but I got some pretty good laughs from this movie. It takes an effort for me to laugh, but I was cracking up quite a few times in this movie. It’s not one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen (like I said, the humor wasn’t very consistent with a lot of “dry spells” in the film) but it’s certainly a funny flick.
The wonderful performances, outstanding cinematography, and great humor make The Grand Budapest Hotel one of 2014’s most fun flicks. There’s too many characters with the movie getting sidetracked quite often, but that certainly doesn’t stop The Grand Budapest Hotel from being the delightfully ridiculous movie it is.