WRITTEN BY: Wes Anderson
DIRECTED BY: Wes Anderson
STARRING: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law
RATING: 4 stars
At this point in Wes Anderson's career, it seems you either love almost everything he does or you are completely turned off by his quirky style and do not even bother watching his films. I am in the former category. If you are in the latter, you can stop reading this review now. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has again assembled a stellar cast – yes, Bill Murray also makes an appearance – and Anderson has written an outrageously funny and endearing film. It is certainly one of his best films yet.
Set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, the film spans three time periods – 1932, 1968 and 1985. Beginning in 1985, an aging writer (Tom Wilkinson) recalls the time in 1968 when, as a younger man (Jude Law), he stayed at the tacky Grand Budapest Hotel and met its enigmatic owner, Mr Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham). Moustafa recounts his story about being a lobby boy known as Zero (Tony Revolori) when the place was run by charming concierge, Mr Gustave (Ralph Fiennes). As he explains, when one of Gustave's favourite clients (Tilda Swinton) dies and leaves him a precious painting, he must steal it from her home to keep it away from her greedy family, including her evil son (Adrien Brody) and his hit man (Willem Dafoe). Zero soon ropes in his baker's assistant girlfriend Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) to help them.
There is not one bad performance in this film. Feinnes leads the film and is utterly charismatic and delightful to watch. Revolori has not done much acting but he is in fine form and is worth keeping an eye on. Dafoe draws many laughs just with the look on his face through most of the film. Ronan provides some humanity, while Brody is hilariously villainous. Some of the other minor characters are also solid, including Jeff Goldblum as the executor of the woman's will and Edward Norton as an officer trying to figure out what is actually happening. There are also some great cameos, which I will not spoil.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a whimsical, odd buddy film with an intriguing storyline and plenty of laughs.