The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★★

Great movie! I thoroughly enjoyed myself from start to finish. It didn't quite have the same impact on me as Fantastic Mr. Fox or Rushmore did, but I doubt Wes Anderson will disappoint me with any of his films. As you've heard, the technical aspects of this are truly incredible. Wes has one of the most distinct visual styles of any film director I can think of, and this lives up his good name. The production design is absolutely stunning and some of the best of the decade and beyond, the cinematography is excellent as always, the costumes and paintings are gorgeous, and the use of color in general is mindblowing. I've heard some complaints about the usage of greenscreens and CGI feeling a bit off, and while neither aspect was perfect, I was never really bothered by this. The ski and sled chase towards the end of the film was fairly obviously computer generated, though it gave that scene a cartoonish vibe and I didn't mind. Wes Anderson's directing skills were put to good use and then some. Not to mention another fantastic score from Alexandre Desplat! While none of the performances were heartstoppers or anything (I was also a bit bothered by the high amount of American accents, not quite sure if this was intentional or not), I did enjoy all the characters presented and you could tell they connected with each role. I also do wish more of the supporting characters were developed as well as Zero and Gustave, but this isn't a huge flaw. The screenplay is a good one, though I feel it didn't consistently capture the style of the time period and specific lines did take me out of the immersion briefly. The story was very well paced and engaging for the most part. I believe I got the intended effect out of each major plot element, and there were a lot of moments where I laughed out loud. However, I think some scenes haven't quite stuck out in my memory like I'd hoped, as a lot of the smaller subplots aren't as easy to piece together in my head. And this brings me to what I think the main reason why the rating isn't any higher than it is; style over substance. While I was always entertained by what was being presented, I do wish the film tried to make more of a prominent point or have more commentary integrated with the story, and in turn I didn't think the film was very purposeful. This seemed to be more of a Wes Anderson passion project rather than a piece of art with a message behind it. This isn't necessarily a knock on the film as a whole, and I understand why that is a reason behind why so many people adore this film, though it is worth commenting that for this film to make my favorites list, it would have to say something. All things considered, I had a great time with this one. As said, it isn't my favorite film by Wes, but it wasn't disappointing in the slightest and I'm very thankful that I got it on Criterion as a Christmas gift. I have the rating at 4/5 stars for now, but I could definitely see it going up to a 4.5/5 in the future. It's a joy from start to finish and I can't think of anyone close to me personally that I wouldn't recommend this to. Check it out when you can!

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