Dec’s review published on Letterboxd:
Well, what does it say? Where is it? What's it all about, damn it? Don't keep us in suspense, Serge, this has been a complete fucking nightmare! Just tell us what the fuck is going on!
Haven’t seen this since it came out in 2014, 7 years ago that is sad. Moonrise Kingdom was a total surprise to me, that was a great film and Wes’s follow up, The Grand Budapest Hotel is even better and still a joy to watch!
Preys on sick old ladies and he probably fucks them too.
I go to bed with all my friends.
*Dmitri punches Gustave*
This is tied with Fantastic Mr Fox as his funniest film. The comedy is so witty and snappy, it’s very fast paced. One thing I like about FMF is the consistent orange colour palette, Wes consistently used yellow for Moonrise Kingdom and for this it’s pink. There are moments where we’re introduced to a yellow/orange colour palette when the time setting is different so it’s not entirely a pink film, I also like how it’s a film of dull bleak colours when it gets to the prison and other locations.
I don’t know, I’d rather jump off this cliff right now than go back to fucking prison.
The cast is a delight. Ralph Fiennes is amazing in this, one of my favourite performances of his. Adrien Brody, Willem Brody, Jeff Goldblum, F Murray Abraham, Tom Wilkinson, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Saorise Ronan, Jason Schartzman, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Lea Seydoux and Tony Revolri. This is his greatest ensemble, everyone from his entire career is in this. Maybe the ensemble in the French Dispatch can give this a run for its money? Ralph Fiennes is the lead and he powerfully leads the film, the way he delivers every line is perfect, Adrien Brody also is great throughout, he has a lot of comedic moments that he delivered well. Tony Revolri I thought was a great addition to the film as Gustave’s loyal lobby boy, I like them as a duo.
Take your hands off my lobby boy!
The filmmaking aspects impress me a lot about this film, the cinematography and editing is great, every frame is a painting; but all the miniature hotels they made for the wideshots, the way they filmed the train scene by making a tiny cart, it’s indie filmmaking at its finest. I like how the aspect ratio Wes uses is different each time to tell the story considering the time setting; 1.37 : 1 for the 1930s scenes, 1.85 : 1 for the 1985 scenes and 2.39 : 1 for the 1960s scenes. Everything is so specific with the camera movements and blocking/framing, the whip pans are best here from Wes, the largest centre frames Wes has ever made, there’s so many great tracking and trucking shots, match cuts, zoom shots and frames within a frame. It’s like Wes blended every element from FMF and translated it across live action. Same with Alexandre Desplat’s cheerful soundtrack. I never noticed how an animal always get injured in Wes Anderson films and now its a running gag. I would like to thank this film for inspiring Paddington 2 also.
Did he just throw my cat out of the window?
I usually say Wes Anderson tells fairy tales but this more felt like a fantasy holiday to me, which may sound similar to a fairy tale! I forgot this film was non-linear and it does have a lot of themes that went over my head. The Grand Budapest Hotel in this is a hotel but it’s also a novel. We have this narrator exploring their history, a story about friendship and nostalgia! The non-linear aspect comes into play kinda like a memory and the entire film is someone recalling their memories, telling a story. It might be a stretch but when we’re telling stories in person to our friends/families we often go all over the place and then finally in the end we come full circle, like a true non-linear fashion.
I knew there was something fishy. We never got the cause of death. She's been murdered, and you think I did it.
Fun fact: This was the highest-grossing independent film of 2014, and the highest-grossing limited-release film of 2014.