After you’ve read this, you will go to the cinema of your choice and get a ticket for tonight’s screening of “Grand Budapest Hotel”.
In 2001 a young man made a masterpiece and opened a niche in mainstream cinema which –to this day– only he populates. The man was director Wes Anderson who at that time was 33 years old; and the film was “The Royal Tenenbaums” which was written by himself and Owen Wilson.
Wes Anderson is the bridge between Cannes and Hollywood.
There had been movies directed/written by Wes Anderson before, but Tenenbaums was probably his breakthrough into popular cinema and the key to a wider audience — maybe partly because of the popular actors (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Gene Hackman,…) but mostly because of Wes’ charme — something that has won him many awards and even the most cynical critic’s praise ever since.
Fortunately, the success that came with it hasn’t really changed anything regarding Wes’ style: he has always remained true to his ambitions and never ceased to experiment. With his latest movie he goes –once again– entirely in the opposite direction that the rest of Hollywood is headed.
Wes Anderson makes indie movies for an audience.
New masterpiece: Grand Budapest Hotel
“Grand Budapest Hotel” is Wes Anderson’s eighth film as a director and writer — and his best to this date.
Furthermore, it is the most satisfying movie of this century (so far).
This movie delivers everything a cineaste could possibly dream of in a movie:
- a gigantic amount of great & charismatic actors — including the excellent lead Ralph Fiennes as the hotel’s devoted concierge Monsieur Gustave, as well as newcomer Tony Revolori as young Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy.
Take a look at the poster for all the stars. (For Austrians: Karl Markovics also appears in it.)
- amazing and charming visuals — the heart and essence of every Wes Anderson movie. Costumes, locations, the scenery and decor are stunning, authentic and weird at the same time.
- the most interesting cinematography — it is part of the visuals, but this really deserves its own shout-out:
Camera movements, positions, composition are unusual and intriguing; the film even makes use of different aspect ratios: parts of the movie are almost square.
You don’t have to know anything about image composition in order to be able to say that this movie feels different, due to its symmetry and oddness.
Credit belongs to Wes’ long-time director of photography Robert Yeoman.
- the rest — including the very fresh dialogues; the weird story (inspired by Stefan Zweig’s novels) with its twists and turns that takes place in a fictional country in eastern Europe; as well as the narration and the soundtrack,…
When I left the movie theater I was already looking forward to watching it the second time. So far, everybody I recommended “Grand Budapest Hotel” to has returned to me with and overwhelmingly positive opinion.
If one likes movies — he/she will love this one.
Besides his newest and the classic “The Royal Tenenbaums”, other favorites of mine are the two films that precede the Grand Budapest — both of which are what I would describe as “adventurous children’s stories for adults”:
- Moonrise Kingdom (2012) is about a boy scout and his pen pal who leave their homes to go on a romantic adventure together. Once again, Wes Anderson combines acclaimed actors with young newcomers in leading roles.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) is about a human-like community of animals whose self-proclaimed leader, a fox voiced by George Clooney, wants to rob three rich farmers as one last coup. The fact that it is based on a children’s novel (by Roald Dahl) somehow made me hesitate at first, but I am glad I watched it at last.
In addition to that it is also a Stop Motion animated movie which some people might find childish — I don’t understand that notion and think Stop Motion is one of the most impressive and fun-to-watch art forms — it is also –because of the unforgiving nature of the production process– much more genuine than classical CGI.