Grand Budapest Hotel is a quirky film to put it mildly! Based loosely on a true story it tells of the adventures of the concierge at the famous European Hotel between the two World Wars.
M. Gustave was quite a character and believed in sharing himself with his lady guests who all loved him. Played by Ralph Fiennes that’s not surprising and the role sees Fiennes in a comical mood for once. When he comes on a new lobby boy he sees something of himself in Zero Moustafa (brilliant Tony Revolori) and champions him, training the young man with big eyes and a willing spirit who pencils on a moustache every morning to give himself a touch of gravitas. As the two stride through the hotel the grandeur of the setting and the sumptuous costumes are seen to advantage and this standard and detail continues throughout the film.
When one of his beloved wealthy guests dies, Madame D, (Tilda Swinton) leaves M. Gustave a painting but not just any old painting, a masterpiece of Renaissance art, ‘Boy with Apple’. At the reading of the will there is much fury shown by her son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) and then the farce of a Benny Hill style race begins, people perusing people, the painting being stolen and retrieved, a wonderful ski chase, scenes which take your breath away. And the answer to all this activity? An envelope tucked into the frame on the back of the painting.
And then there’s the star spotting aspect to this film; the leading lights in the story are played by the likes of Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Saoirse Ronan and Jeff Goldblum. Director Wes Anderson is something of a genius but you like his style or you don’t – on this occasion I did.
And a word of advice, if you drift off in a warm comfy cinema you’ll miss a lot of action which is probably why so many people go back for a second helping. Also, stick through the hundreds of credits at the end and enjoy the music of the Balalaika orchestra. The first thing I did when I got home was to order a CD of the soundtrack and even as I type I’m blown away by the Osipov State Russian orchestra playing Kamarinskaya, it just lifts your spirits as it gets faster and faster with a great hooray at the end. The Grand Budapest Hotel deserves a great hooray too.
Review by ANNE HAILES