The Grand Budapest Hotel: Review
Reading a great many reviews for this film, I have noticed a disturbing trend. Many reviewers like to begin with the disclaimer: you either love Wes Anderson or you despise Wes Anderson and therefore you already know if you will enjoy this movie or not. This is an engaging notion; that the world can be easily separated into two camps with Mr. Anderson as the great divide. Should these people have their own special currency? How big is the island and when can we move there? I guess any artist with a unique voice and a cultivated style presents a polarizing proposition for your average movie goer.
So what’s this movie about? It’s about: meticulous set-piece compositions, lots of horizontal tracking shots, red, purple, pink, glorious nosebleeds, playing with aspect ratios, stolen art, sex, murder, scrumptious chocolates, ski chases, a prison break, finely crafted one-liners, an impeccable soundtrack, brilliant casting, severed fingers and the relationship between a teacher and an apprentice. In short, it’s about film-making. Wes Anderson chooses every ingredient of his films from a very select market. From the people he works with to the influences he mines, there are no loose ends. The major criticism that can be levied against him, is that in the preciousness of all the individual aspects of the films he crafts; the sum doesn’t always equal the measure of it’s parts. In truth, The Grand Budapest Hotel does suffer from this, but it’s a fair price to pay for what it gives in return.
Now I must apologize, I got sucked down the rabbit hole that is a Wes Anderson movie review. I began reviewing the movie and devolved into reviewing Wes Anderson. I guess this is a testament to how strong his filter is. It is hard to separate the artist from the art. The Grand Budapest Hotel is truly a marvel to behold and a fun world to get lost in for an hour and forty minutes. The entire cast is exceptional even if some of them are only on screen for a fleeting moment (more Bill Murray). As an art lover, I loved his inclusion of the many Secession paintings, especially the ones resembling Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. The immaculate Ralph Fiennes’ lead character shares Klimt’s first name and also his libido. When referencing Klimt it is hard to resist his overpowering aesthetic, but Anderson does this with both self assured restraint and a singular vision.
Love him or hate him, go see this movie. It will only reaffirm your place in the universe, and that’s no small feat.
related: Moonrise Kingdom: review