The Grand Budapest Hotel Review
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Many of today’s most popular directors have their own distinctive style—whether it’s Christopher Nolan’s edgy action, Quentin Tarantino’s rapid-fire dialogue, or Tim Burton’s eerie surrealism. But few directors have a style that’s quite as instantly recognizable as Wes Anderson’s. For that reason, the release of each new Wes Anderson film, like The Grand Budapest Hotel, tends to send die-hard fans into a frenzy—because there’s simply nothing else like it.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a story within a story about a story. Mostly, though, it’s about Monsieur Gustave H. (played by Ralph Fiennes), a popular concierge at the legendary Grand Budapest Hotel during the 1930s. Gustave is well-loved by the hotel’s patrons—especially the older women. And when one of his favorite patrons dies, he sets out to pay his respects with his new lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), at his side. The travelers arrive in time for a preliminary reading of the will, in which Gustave is bequeathed a priceless painting—much to the chagrin of the late Madame’s son. And what follows is a tangled caper involving theft, a jail break, and delicate pastries.

With each new Wes Anderson film, you know exactly what you’re going to get: quirky characters, stylish production design, and an underlying sense of humor that often borders on the absurd. And The Grand Budapest Hotel is all that and more. It’s whimsical and artistic, with stunning sets that look like the watercolor pictures on an old postcard. The characters are adorably odd. The writing is clever and sometimes shockingly silly (in the very best of ways). And the massive ensemble cast—led by an absolutely hilarious Fiennes—couldn’t be much better.

For Anderson’s fans, then, it’s easy to get entirely caught up in the sheer Wes-Anderson-ness of it all. After all, it’s an enchanting tale—the kind that you watch with a permanent smirk, reveling in every brilliantly bizarre little detail. It’s carefully crafted with flawless comic timing and an eye for those strange little touches that make it so outrageously entertaining.

Once you come down from the euphoric feeling that comes from the film’s art and whimsy and wacky sense of humor, however, you might begin to realize that something’s not quite right. The story—while quirky and entertaining—doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense. And you might sometimes find yourself wondering what’s going on—and why.

Fortunately, though, there’s plenty here to take your mind off the somewhat unfocused story. Though the characters’ actions might sometimes leave you scratching your head, the smart, snappy dialogue and loads of comic surprises still make this imaginative adventure well worth the journey to Anderson’s delightfully shabby mountainside resort.

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