Monday, June 23, 2014
Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Having got all that off my chest let me say that The Grand Budapest Hotel managed to hold my interest, largely thanks to Ralph Fiennes performance as M. Gustave, the concierge of a great hotel located somewhere in Anderson's imagination between Grand Hotel (1932) and The Night Porter (1974) and set in the 1930s. Fiennes brings charm and energy to a role that's no more than a pot luck of character traits. The other thing that kept me interested was the look of the film. I'm usually opposed to films that invest too much energy on gaudy set and costume design, but the look of this one fits its subject matter perfectly. Even if the plot and characters are generally tedious, the scenery, both indoors and out, is always imaginatively realized.
As for the rest of film, all I can say is that it's the usual grab bag of movie star cameos, arch acting, and dialogue that sounds as though it was written in italics or with ironic quotation marks around it. Oh, and the character of Zero, a bellboy who has the biggest role next to Fienne's, is the owner of the raised eyebrow I mentioned earlier. He runs around a lot, but his character is largely built around his ability to raise an eyebrow at key moments. At the end of the day I didn't like The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I didn't loathe it, which means that for me Wes Anderson's career is trending upwards.