The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★★½

Mr. Moustafa: [on M. Gustave] "There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. He was one of them. What more is there to say?"

Despite its whimsicality, The Grand Budapest Hotel has an aura of sadness lingering over it. Anderson removes it so far from reality, yet its emotional resonance remains potent. The film is my second encounter with Wes Anderson's quirky style, and it never ceases to amaze me.

The Grand Budapest Hotel depicts a writer meeting with the decaying hotel's owner. Over dinner, he tells him of his time as a lobby boy serving under a noble concierge during the establishment's prime.

"Storybook" is a good descriptor for his visuals and "clever" for his dialogue. The changing aspect ratios and symmetrical framing evoke nostalgia, feelings that carry over in this story within a story within a story framing. It keeps us hooked, despite our continual awareness of the film's artificiality. Through these choices, Anderson's visuals are pervasive but never distracting, as his dialogue is deadpan yet always amusing.

The story of how Mr. Moustafa acquired the Grand Budapest is whimsical yet plagued by darkness. Throughout the film, we see the military appear front and centre in the nation of Zubrowka as we learn why Zero came under M. Gustave's wing and what the Grand Budapest represents. Perhaps it's a story about loneliness, a longing for fleeting moments or resistance to cruel change. As dark characters inhabit this colourful world, the comedy never eludes the tragedy.

Henckels: "Nobody move; everybody's under arrest."

I don't know what else to say. Despite my understanding that a writer's task is to put their thoughts into words, this film has left me speechless. Never will I see anything like it again, and never will I compare it to anything else. Although the only other Anderson film I've seen, Fantastic Mr Fox, is distinctly Anderson, it's nothing like the Grand Budapest. I guess all I have left to say is I'm impressed. I'm impressed by the cast, the director, writers, the set designers, the praise and the appeal. There really is no filmmaker like Wes Anderson.

Good god, what a pretentious review.

Young Writer: "Is it simply your last connection to that — vanished world. His world, if you will?"
Mr. Moustafa: "His world? No, I don't think so. You see, we shared a vocation. It wouldn't have been necessary. He's always with me. No, the hotel — I keep for Agatha. We were happy here for a little while. To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it — but, I will say: he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvellous grace!"

SCORE: 8.5/10

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