I may be a little late with the party in watching this movie, but I knew how much I would like it so I was saving it for a day when I could use a pick-me-up. I finally watched The Grand Budapest Hotel last week and was absolutely not disappointed.
I’m already a fan of Wes Anderson movies so you know I’m going to harp on the colour palettes and the symmetry of the shots. I had been skeptical about the pepto-bismol pink filter I was seeing on photosets from the film but the colours absolutely enhance the experience. With such a dialogue-driven movie I think the need for a standout atmosphere is greater than ever and drenching the sets in the sunset-Floridian colours was a neat approach. And of course the symmetrical shots are so beautiful. The two ski lifts passing each other mid-air comes back to mind in particular. Just lovely.
I’ll admit I couldn’t remember Ralph Fiennes’ name until the credits were rolling. What a great performance, though. Tony Revolori as Zero was also very good, I was really pleased whenever they gave additional depth to his character. It would have been easy for him to be overshadowed by Fiennes’ character, no doubt. Saoirse Ronan (who has the loveliest name) was a delight on the screen but definitely did not have a big enough role. On the whole the story was dominated by men, which I didn’t find to particularly detract from the film but it could have benefitted from some really strong female roles. Anderson tends to shy away from writing those, however. Very funny performances from Adrian Brody (who I can only see as Salvadore Dali after Midnight in Paris) and Willem Dafoe.
The story-within-story tradition is an old one (I’ve been dealing with it in my thesis writing) and sort of works well here. It takes a few minutes to be dragged into the layers, before you forget how many narratives you’re immersed in until they all wrap up in the end. The movie did really well at the Oscars this past weekend, which I definitely think is deserved.
I’ll give it an 8.5/10, and definitely recommend it for anyone to enjoy (even though you should have seen it already!)