The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

           Wes Anderson has always been known for his whimsical storytelling style and his colorful visual style.  With such a unique style Anderson really stands out from the rest of the directors currently working today, and due to this his films can be a breath of fresh air.  Yet Anderson can also get a little too whimsical and a little too colorful with his films at times resulting in a mess.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those messes.  There is a lot to like in The Grand Budapest Hotel (especially its large and talented cast), but much of it is undone by a boring plotline that is ignored in favor of a bunch of jokes and gags.

            The Grand Budapest Hotel follows the telling of a long told tale about a lobby boy (Tony Revolori) who becomes the protégé of Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) of the world famous Grand Budapest Hotel.  When Gustave H. gets caught up in a murder conspiracy, the two must uncover the mystery to clear Gustave H.’s name.  The film is directed by Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox) and is written by Anderson with help from Hugo Guinness (a frequent collaborator with Anderson).

            There are a bunch of solid laughs in this film.  In fact, The Grand Budapest Hotel might be Wes Anderson’s funniest film yet.  Unfortunately, this also becomes the film’s biggest problem as it becomes clear that more attention was paid to the gags than to the plot.  That can work with some films, but The Grand Budapest Hotel’s plot needs attention and clarity.  It’s a comedy at heart but due to its plot it’s also a thriller.  This combination definitely doesn’t work and especially so when the thriller components are given so little attention despite being integral to the film.  Luckily this massive problem doesn’t get in the way of Wes Anderson’s typically interesting visual style.  This might be Anderson’s biggest film yet in terms of scale and that allows for some stunning sequences.

            The film also lucks out in that it gets two strong performances from its two leads and has an amazing supporting cast to back them up.  It could have been a huge mistake to have the typically serious Ralph Fiennes play as comedic of a character as Gustave H., but he puts that theory to rest rather quickly with one of his best performances in a while.  Gustave H. might be Wes Anderson’s funniest character to date and most of that has to do with Fiennes’ charming performance.  More surprising, though, is that newcomer Tony Revolori more than holds his own despite being constantly onscreen with Fiennes.  Revolori has the incredible ability to play off of with consistently great results that it seems like he is an actor much more experienced than he actually is.  The supporting cast is filled with recognizable actors doing great work including Willem Dafoe as a deadly efficient henchman, Jeff Goldblum as a lawyer in over his head and Jude Law as a man recounting a story to name a few.

            A great cast and some strong direction is almost enough to save The Grand Budapest Hotel from a storyline that isn’t given enough attention.


2010 Cinema Awards

Best Visual Effects

Inception (Pete Bebb, Chris Corbould, Paul J. Franklin & Andrew Lockley)
Best Sound Mixing
Black Swan (Craig Henighan, Ken Ishii & Dominick Tavella)    
Best Sound Editing
Black Swan (Craig Henighan)
Best Original Song
"Supertight", Get Him to the Greek (Russell Brand, Jason Segel & Lyle Workman)
Best Original Score
Inception (Hans Zimmer)    
Best Makeup
Black Swan (Judy Chin)
Best Film Editing
Inception (Lee Smith)    
Best Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood)
Best Cinematography
Black Swan(Matthew Libatique)    
Best Art Direction
Robin Hood (John King & Arthur Max)
Best Original Screenplay
Stuart Blumberg & Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Best Adapted Screenplay
Robert Harris & Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer
Best Supporting Actress
Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
Best Supporting Actor
Pierce Brosnan, The Ghost Writer
Best Lead Actress
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Lead Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island
Best Director
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Best Picture
Inception (Christopher Nolan & Emma Thomas)

5-Black Swan
2-The Ghost Writer

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