Living in a Wes Anderson film is like living in a perfectly symmetrical doll’s house, but with complex characters and an overwhelming amount of 70s nostalgia.
Anderson’s latest masterpiece, The Grand Budapest Hotel, follows Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and his protégé Zero Mustafa (Tony Revolori). Gustave is the concierge and Zero the lobby boy at the esteemed Grand Budapest Hotel.
The diligent Gustave keeps the hotel in immaculate condition, much like Anderson and the aesthetic of his films. He is brutally honest, witty, vain and has a particular fondness for elderly rich women. His most notable fling is with Madame D (Tilda Swinton), who assigns Gustave the fictional renaissance painting Boy with Apple in her will.
When the time comes for Gustave’s inheritance of the painting, Madame D’s son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) is not keen on giving up the notable piece of art, especially to the man he accuses of murdering his mother.
The Grand Budapest Hotel follows the wild string of events that ensue to retrieve the painting and clear Gustave’s name. It also follows the beautiful friendship that develops between the kind and lowly lobby boy Zero and the clever, liberally-perfumed Gustave.
The story is narrated by Zero retelling the events in his old age. He portrays the hotel sentimentally, indicating his gratefulness for the place and all that happened there. The film is hilarious and made me laugh out loud on several occasions, but it is also poetically written and full of heartwarming connections.
This is the world of Wes Anderson, where polished, dream-like settings turn nostalgia into a backdrop for complicated humans.
Watching the world Anderson created in the film is like living in the doll house that you always wished would come alive when you were a child. The colours are vivid and, in true Anderson style, reminiscent of the 70s.
The buildings and scenery are almost cartoon-like, appearing as though they are made of clay — this is the world of Wes Anderson, where polished, dream-like settings turn nostalgia into a backdrop for complicated humans. The score is also eclectic, adding to the whimsical nature of the characters and plot.
The characters are brought to life by the cast, as Fiennes flawlessly delivers the genuineness and hilarity of Gustave. Saoirse Ronan plays Zero’s brave and fiery girlfriend Agatha. Zero’s character was cast perfectly with newcomer Tony Revolori, as the charmingly loyal companion of Gustave. All of the classic cameos you would expect from a Wes Anderson film are successfully delivered.
Watching The Grand Budapest Hotel is an immersive experience — it’s like playing a game that you get so involved in you don’t even know how long you’ve been playing. You are fully transported to witness the inner-workings of the hotel and the polished madness that is happening around Zero and Gustave. It is cheeky and so very endearing, and a more than worthy addition to the Anderson canon.