The Grand Budapest Hotel-Capsule Review

Grand Budapest 2014Though I’ve not been a huge fan of Wes Anderson’s work in the past, The Grand Budapest Hotel stands out from the rest of his work. My love of independent films doesn’t extend to simply art for pseudo-art’s sake, or in Anderson’s case, a grindingly slow and bizarre plot or a set of circumstances staged with a cast of bizarre characters littering the landscape. But in Grand Budapest, there seems to be a wink and a nod to the type of extremes seen in most indy films and Anderson’s in particular. There is a running cast of A-list actors peppered throughout that reminds one of Hitchcock’s placement in all of his films. Again, a wink and a nod to an earlier era in filmmaking.
Ralph Fiennes is a pleasant surprise as the lead, playing a fastidiously effeminate type of leading man…Not just anyone could carry this character off. Fiennes is surprisingly funny and poignant at the same time as the eccentric head concierge M. Gustave in the mythic Grand Budapest Hotel. The plot centers around the death of an older patron of the hotel, one that Fiennes character knew well. (Tilda Swinton in a small gem of a role)
Most of the parts are small gems set in the jewel of the Budapest hotel setting. The artistic placement of each shot is not lost on the viewer. Each scene is set as if in a storyboard with an imaginary artist’s palette framing the scene. It works wonderfully to convey the image of a lost time and the type of individual isolation used to describe most of the characters. There is a chase scene leading fittingly to a museum, where the characters are shown with individual shots of the museum pieces entering into the spirit and the framework of the film and becoming an integral part of the plot.
This is a film I would recommend for anyone to see at the movies. But now that it is released on DVD, it’s still worth the time it takes to savor the artistry of the film and drink in the scenery. This is a beautifully shot and artistically crafted piece of work

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at

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