A Wonderful Check-in at The Grand Budapest Hotel


Mackenzie Farkus, Editor in Chief

The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-StillWes Anderson has a repertoire of unique films, some of which demand an acquired taste. The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, and Fantastic Mr. Fox are some of Anderson’s better known works. Anderson’s films are whimsical and quick, but not without a tinge of darkness. His newest film, titled The Grand Budapest Hotel, was released on March 7 as a limited release, is rated R, and earned a 92% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Grand Budapest Hotel shows the extraordinary growth that Wes Anderson’s film-making has gone through, and is surely a cinematic masterpiece.

The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the story through two distinct narrators: a man simply known as The Author (Tom Wilkinson and Jude Law), and his subject, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham and Tony Revolori), a peculiar old man that was rumored to be the owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel in 1968. The Author eagerly accepts Moustafa’s invitation to dinner, and thus, Moustafa’s tale unfolds. Once a lobby boy at the now dilapidated Grand Budapest Hotel in the 1930s, he recounts his adventure with eccentric concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), who was framed for murder. Set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, an alpine European state, the film also touches upon the impending second World War and its effect on Central and Eastern European countries.

Rather than using CGI, Wes Anderson’s use of stop motion throughout The Grand Budapest Hotel, combined with his characteristic beautiful cinematography, is profound. The hotel itself—which was an extremely elaborate building—was a nine foot miniature model of the hotel. This practice of using miniature models is not uncommon to Anderson; he once made a miniature model of a submarine for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and the entirety of Fantastic Mr. Fox is done in stop motion.

The characters’ lines are fast and witty; in fact, there’s even an ongoing gag about Gustave, and eventually Zero and Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), breaking out into classical poetry. In this particular Wes Anderson film, I was more attached to the characters, especially Gustave and Zero.

One of the most interesting things about Wes Anderson’s films is that there is a series of recurring actors and actresses in each of his films. For instance, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson have been in seven films, while Jason Schwartzman has been in five, including three of Anderson’s short films. Other notable recurring actors include Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Jeff Goldblum, and Anjelica Huston.

Fans of Wes Anderson’s films will find The Grand Budapest Hotel extremely enjoyable and will notice the growth of Anderson’s storylines and cinematography. For those just hearing of the director, this is a great film to start with. Overall, I would give this movie four and a half stars.