The Grand Budapest Hotel

July 2014 Prof. Cassandra Lobiesk

If the starry cast of characters didn't already draw me in, the colors certainly did. Then I saw Wes Anderson on the director's credit and thought: "OMG, the guy who did Moonrise Kingdom!" So naturally, I underwent my adventure at The Grand Budapest Hotel.

"There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity...He was one of them."

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a story layered within a story, which is then layered within a story. It starts off with a girl at the memorial of The Author (Tom Wilkinson), reading what it looks to be The Author's recollection of a time he once spent at a lavish hotel in the mountains. As a young man (Jude Law), The Author encounters an aged Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), and in their interaction, Zero recounts his own tale of how he obtained the ownership of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Zero's tale comes off as the meat of the movie, and we are then propelled to the world of Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and his hotel's glory days of 1932. There, Zero is a newly-acquired lobby boy (Tony Revolori) who assists the hotel concierge (Gustave) in any way possible, even executing painting theft, prison-breaks, all whilst performing regular lobby boy duties.

One of the things that shined in this movie was definitely the role of Gustave H., a timeless man whose "world had vanished long before he ever entered it." As Gustave, Fiennes is the driving force in the character, with all the fast-talking nuances and the dry humor that comes from a heavily talented actor. That's not to say that the rest of the cast did not perform splendidly. I enjoyed the sporadic raving that Adrien Brody brought to his villainous Dmitri, and was certainly entertained by the various other characters that showed up in this massively star-powered movie; short-lived characters like Jeff Goldblum's Deputy Kovacs and Tilda Swinton's Madame D. provided quite a bit of their own hilarity ("Did he just throw my cat out of the window?"), and Revolori's Zero and Saoirse Ronan's Agatha brought me sigh several times at how adorable they were ("Is he flirting with you?" "Yes.").

While the cast carried quite a bit of the movie, the setting, script, and music certainly made The Grand Budapest Hotel into the exquisite package that it is. I don't think I've heard dialogue delivered so on-point and fantabulously written as the one in this movie, and I swear, every scene and shot looked like an image waiting to be wallpaperized or turned into a cupcake decoration (the latter of which I'm really tempted in simulating at some point this year). Because of the great exaggerations of this particular storytelling, I even accepted the cheesy gun fight and the cartoonized skiing chase that ensued in the middle of a computerized German mountainside (as I understand it, most of the scenes were filmed on location, in Germany). Not to mention that the music was certainly fitting to the atmosphere of the movie (there was even a silly-drawn dancing Russian man at the ending credits).

I've already watched it twice in the same week. That's how awesome it is.