The Grand Budapest Hotel - Cinema Review

Clearly having a ball, Fiennes proves to be the anti-Anderson protagonist; definitely not a loser, watching life pass them by, reacting at the speed it takes a 5-mile long train to start moving.
There's something about being terrifically witty, excessively dry and extremely sweary that suits Ralph Fiennes. Perhaps it's because he actually seems so suited to straight, polite roles, or because he's here amongst several people within The Grand Budapest Hotel who once again appear to have imbibed Wes Anderson's own-produced brand of actor-Prozac. Clearly having a ball, Fiennes proves to be the anti-Anderson protagonist; definitely not a loser, watching life pass them by, reacting at the speed it takes a 5-mile long train to start moving.

For that reason, The Grand Budapest Hotel does not conform to the typical rule of 'if you hate Wes Anderson films, you'll hate this', a fact reflected in the film's high UK box office. That isn't to say though, that Anderson has abandoned his whimsy, nor his stylisation, nor his half-asleep characters. The Grand Budapest Hotel is still very much an Anderson film, with tweaks that have made the director's offering a better, more welcoming experience.

For a start, though the script is still choc full of characters who have all swallowed dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias, there is something that I found to be relatively new from Anderson: a willingness to engage in base level laughs and easy humour. The biggest laughs in my screening came from two character's deaths - this film also flirts with the macabre... regularly - one provided on very visual terms, the other reliant on a lot of loud swearing. It's refreshing and it feels like Anderson finally allowing others to be in on the joke, treating them like compatriots, rather than attendees at a lecture.

His protagonist too is someone you can root for. I couldn't identify with the strangely adult-like kids of Moonrise Kingdom and I can't stand Max Fischer; examples of Anderson protagonists I'm just not sure exist. Gustave (Fiennes) though (and, to a point, Zero (Tony Revolori)) are people you can root for; eccentrics like Steve Zissou, reacting plausibly (for eccentrics) to extreme situations. Anderson and Fiennes revel in it and giving the audience someone they can root for - not a given in Anderson's oeuvre - is a big plus.

In the outlying parts of the film there are a handful of problems. There are, for example, plenty of people here who have taken Anderson's prozac (Revolori, Mathieu Amalric, Willem Dafoe) and in a narrative this full of characters some standout supporting turns get reduced to cameos (Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray), whilst those meandering are given room to meander some more.

That though is part of the film's charm. Like an advent calendar, windows of the The Grand Budapest keep opening, revealing something stylised and sweet and funny, until it winds its way to satisfying ends, wrapped mainly in a narration by Jude Law, who should be paid to narrate everything.





By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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