Some directors have such a specific look and feel to their work that all you need to do is watch the opening of a movie to unmistakably know to whom it belongs.
Wes Anderson is one such director.
And his latest offering, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a quintessential Anderson film.
As usual, he has created a colourful, meticulously constructed world filled with a vast array of endearing, quirky characters played by some of the world’s biggest names (and yes, Bill Murray as always, is one of them). The actors, particularly Ralph Fiennes as the pompous, ever-cheery concierge Gustave H, really make this movie sing, as they nail the sight gags and offbeat comedy.
But amidst all this frivolity is a thought-provoking and ultimately emotional story, with twinges of sadness.
To put it simply, if you’re an Anderson fan, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must-see.
A tale within a tale, within a tale, within a tale, it begins with a teenage girl, reading a memoir by `the Author’.
As the Author, Tom Wilkinson remembers a visit to the once stunning, but now slowly deteriorating Grand Budapest Hotel in 1968 (where his younger self is played by Jude Law).
Upon meeting the owner of the famous building (F. Murray Abraham), they have dinner where he recounts the story of the legendary concierge Gustave H, who worked at The Grand Budapest Hotel during its heyday between the two World Wars, along with his lobby boy and friend Zero.
Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, Anderson co-wrote the film with Hugo Guinness, which becomes a kind of zany whodunit when Gustave H is framed for the murder of one of his wealthy mistresses.
Some of the big names on board this time around include Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton and Jason Schwartzman. Meanwhile, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe are both menacing and funny as a greedy, inheritance-obsessed son and his henchman.
Well-crafted with the superb cast that usually comes with an Anderson film, the multi-layered Grand Budapest Hotel manages to be bittersweet, yet whimsical and fun.
* The Grand Budapest Hotel opens in Australian cinemas on April 10