Reel Reviews: Check into this hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is strange, beautiful and funny.

  • May. 25, 2014 10:00 a.m.
M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and young Zero Mustafa (Tony Revolori) keep the story moving in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and young Zero Mustafa (Tony Revolori) keep the story moving in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) recounts the tale of how he came to be the esteemed owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel to a young writer (Jude Law) seeking a story.

The tale is an amazing story of scandal and intrigue involving the hotel’s former concierge, M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes).

We say, “It’s strange, beautiful and funny.”

TAYLOR: The story, summed up in the introductory paragraph, really doesn’t sound like much, but you needn’t worry, the story is inconsequential to what makes The Grand Budapest Hotel fun and interesting. Wes Anderson movies are always quirky and visually interesting, his latest is no exception.

HOWE: After seeing the trailer for this for the past six-to-nine months I was excited to see this and I am very happy that the Vernon Towne Theatre has brought it to us. I thought it was a great film.

The way Anderson gets you to feel and understand his characters so quickly will have you hooked into the storyline within the first five minutes.

In most movies these days, I don’t really care about who’s sleeping with who, who’s plotting to kill who and who’s trying to get revenge. In The Grand Budapest Hotel it feels like you are watching a play on stage. It’s a dark beautiful backdrop, yet the quality actors with their little cameos light up the whole movie. Fantastic.

TAYLOR: Well, the actors in it are quality, but their performances are very subtle. The story itself is almost non existent, not entirely dissimilar from your list of plots you could care less about. The success of this film was created by its director. What drew you in was the framing, colour, whimsical sets, snappy pacing and one liners. In short, all the things that make a Wes Anderson film unique. The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic and to a lesser extent The Darjeeling Limited (a more serious film, taking place on a train) all have that Anderson feel. It’s a thorough packaging that, although perhaps under appreciated, is certainly accessible, even occasionally lampooned. Every single scene, shot and even frame is a rich universe steeped in perfectionism.

This is a deep, artful movie, not something to be simply watched, but experienced. It’s also, not a comedy, despite being quite funny, it takes place in a very sad environment.

HOWE: I agree, you could take any scene from it, put it in a frame and mount it on the wall, it’s shot that perfectly. The one liners, facial expressions and the sheer madness of the plot had me laughing more than a few times. If you are a fan of subtle humour, sometimes with a dark twist involved, The Grand Budapest Hotel could be right up your street and I would highly recommend not missing it.

– Taylor gives The Grand Budapest Hotel 4.5 boxes out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4.5 fancy cakes out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Vernon Towne Cinema.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column runs in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday.