The Grand Budapest HotelTitle: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Director: Wes Anderson
Runtime: 100 minutes

I don’t like Wes Anderson films. There, I said it, and I feel so much better. Maybe I just don’t “get it” like most people do. Please note that I’ve seen all of his films to date except Moonrise Kingdom, which I have started but have never found the time to finish watching. With that all being said, I just had to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Why? I adore Ralph Fiennes, and the trailer looked really funny.

Well, I am happy to report that I have finally seen a Wes Anderson film that I enjoyed; a lot, actually. The film is told firsthand by a gentleman at the Grand Budapest Hotel and he explains how he came to own the establishment. It takes a few jumps into the past, but its focus is on the time when a young protégé started working there, and he made friends with the concierge of the hotel, who was blamed for a murder, and craziness ensued.

If you’ve seen the trailer for this then I am sad to report that a large portion of the film has already been revealed to you. It’s a shame, but in all honestly, it doesn’t take away from the laughs, and there are some really good moments not shown in the trailer that happen during the big finale. The Grand Budapest Hotel is absurd, unbelievable, and downright crazy, but it all works.

It’s brought to life by Ralph Fiennes (most will know him as Lorde Voldermort from Harry Potter), and he is charming and hysterical in this film. The entire cast just comes out swinging, and delivers. Fans of Anderson’s films will love all the actors who pop in through the movie. One problem I have with Grand Budapest is that a large portion of the actors mispronounce “Budapest”. To be fair, most viewers won’t catch it, but I have a friend whom I’m sure would have pointed it out, so I wanted to acknowledge it.

Visually the film is full of color and life. Everything is perfectly crafted, and there’s even this weird, crazy winter Olympics-like scene that is just hysterical to watch, and its big finish offers one of the best scenes in the film. Anderson has fine-tuned his craft, and just brings it, much like his cast.

Everything about The Grand Budapest Hotel screams to be loved. From the music, to the actors, the set pieces and the hyperactive sense of narrative that just makes the film blaze by in it’s nearly two-hour runtime. I laughed, I was saddened, and I had a blast. The audience, which was older than I thought it would be, really seemed to enjoy the zany little tale as much as I did. If you’re lucky enough to have this playing near you then I recommend checking it out. If not, I’m sure the Criterion Collection will be releasing it on DVD and Blu-ray in about 3 months, since they usually handle all of Anderson’s films.

three_and_a_half_stars

Chris Ranson
Film Critic at Cinefessions

Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.