The Grand Budapest Hotel Review: Perhaps the Most Wes Anderson Film of Them All

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There is one question to ask yourself if you are at all intrigued by this film: do you like Wes Anderson?

If you do, you will love The Grand Budapest Hotel. If you don’t, you will hate The Grand Budapest Hotel. This film is the most Wes Anderson-y of all of Wes Anderson’s films, to the point that it does achieve some level of self awareness. That self awareness is what makes this film at least a bit more entertaining than Anderson’s more mediocre films (looking at you The Darjeeling Unlimited).

The Grand Budapest Hotel has a really interesting setup of flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks that brings out themes of storytelling and legacy that make the film a bit more thought-provoking.

We follow the misadventures of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) as they fight the family of Gustave’s deceased lover for a valuable painting. Gustave ends up in prison, Zero has a love story, and there’s eventually a giant shoot out. It’s a series of seemingly random, but obviously calculated events that only Wes Anderson could fit into one script.

Fiennes proves his comedic chops alongside the long list of Anderson alums that includes Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, and Tilda Swinton. It’s essentially a lot of actors who are prepared to deliver Anderson’s unique sense of humor.

Unfortunately, that same sense of humor also involves a significant detachment that removes you from the story and characters. Anderson avoided this problem in Moonrise Kingdom, quite easily his best work, without sacrificing his style. It almost feels like he’s trying to make up for that now by overloading us with his gimmicks (his almost satirical cinematography, for example). But that detachment his style produces really hurts the first act of The Grand Budapest Hotel, to the point where it became a battle of whits to keep my eyes open.

But there are some jokes that land very well. The climax, in particular, is a riot. Still though, this is not a Wes Anderson film for people who don’t like his storytelling methods (unlike Moonrise Kingdom). If you haven’t enjoyed a single one of his films you will hate this one, and vice versa. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a celebration of Anderson’s unique artistry. Whether he is an artist you appreciate or not completely determines whether you will like this film. For that alone, it is a bit hollow and mediocre, but not entirely unrewarding. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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