Wes Anderson has come to be appreciated most for his unique and intricate visual style in the direction of his films. He has received copious amounts of critical praise for his work and vision and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” in 2001 and for “Moonrise Kingdom” in 2012, as well as for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for “Fantastic Mr. Fox” in 2009. But now it is being said that every film he has directed prior to his latest release, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, has just been a starter to this fantastic main course of cinematic pleasure.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” could aptly be called typically Andersonian. The film conjures tales within tales and manages to be at once whimsical and winsome as well as haunting and sombre. In a nutshell, the film recounts the marvellous adventures of Monsieur Gustave H., a renowned and legendary hotel concierge at a famous European hotel, and Zero Moustafa (played by 17-year-old Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
Like most of Anderson’s films, this one too revolves around a middle-aged man and a gifted young boy whom he takes under his wing. One of the treats of the film is the captivating Ralph Fiennes in the lead, playing the role of Gustave H. He has mastered the slight nuances of his character, who can be seductive and flattering to his older female guests while being ruthless and abhorrent in his work ethic.
The film also features actors in cameo roles; including Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Owen Wilson, a nearly-unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, as well as newcomers to the Anderson club; F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law and Saoirse Ronan, among other very pleasant surprises.
Anderson’s attention to detail and the breathtaking execution of his vision has become a hallmark of his cinema. But perhaps the greatest quality of this film is the sense of reverberant joy that one instantly picks up on that Anderson and his team had while putting this film together, like children constructing a play-house filled with magical toys and characteristics.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is an ode to a world and time gone by when – adopting this ‘golden age’ mentality – life seemed more beautiful and palatable. Wes Anderson’s brilliant imagination and quirky sense of creation brings a stunning work to the cinema that exudes sultry and romantic nostalgia.