The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★★½

How do you write a review about this film without instantly mentioning the incredibly distinct visual style? A true visual marvel, one of the most recognizable films ever made. With perfect composition and symmetry, every single shot of The Grand Budapest Hotel's wondefully colored world can be used as a wallpaper. Wes Anderson's excellent use of zoom ins and camera movement are cherry on the for the visual experience.

As the story is being told by an aged Zero Mustafa in the vast, almost melancholic empty spaces of what used to be a joyful hotel filled with people, everything has a nostalgic feeling. The events of the film, looked at alone, are actually pretty dark, especially as the story progresses. The atmosphere, however, is never gloomy or bleak. Everything is just so comforting and uplifting. The tone never changes, even during scenes involving chopped off fingers or a decapitated head. Even the dark humour and excessive profanity and slurs somehow seem wholesome and uplifting. Wes Anderson would find a way to end the film on a high note with fitting, soothing music even if all of the main characters died gruesome deaths.

The cast is one of the strongest of the past decade. In a bunch of A-list actors, the ones that really steal the show are Ralph Fieness and Willem Dafoe. Dafoe is absolutely hilarious in every second of his limited screen time. Ralph Fieness's perfomance is the best aspect of this film, and is almost on par with the one in Schindler's List . The Academy, after snubbing him off for a Best supporting actor win, decided to this time snub him off for a Best actor nomination. Immensely charismatic and hilarious, it's one of the best comedic perfomances I've seen.

The first ~30(?) minutes are pure 10/10. Endlessly entertaining and funny as hell. After the prison events, the film loses some momentum and humour in exchange for a clearer narrative and plot. The rest is still great, but just pointing out how incredible the first third is.

Also, this film has probably the funniest use of swearing, ever. I've never seen humour so easily achieved through simple swearing and name calling. It's just so blunt and unexpected from Anderson's quirky characters in a fairytale-like world.

2014 was one hell of a year for cinema, with Birdman, Whiplash, Interstellar, Gone Girl, Boyhood, Kingsman, John Wick and many other films coming out, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is easily one of the best of the year.


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