By Erik Luna
Using his usual cavalcade of stars as a cast, director and screenplay writer Wes Anderson creates a beautiful story of a grand hotel turned upside down by scandal and greed. In its core, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is a love story. It’s not just a love story in the traditional sense, but extends into the insight of an honest brotherly love.
Monsieur Gustave, the expert concierge for the famed Grand Budapest Hotel, is famous for his attentiveness, perfectionism and amorous activities with the lady guests. As a result of his being a prominent lothario, his life becomes chaotic when he is given a special item in the will of one of his conquests.
Gustave is told of the misfortune of his lady friend by a new lobby boy of the hotel, Zero Moustafa, who becomes one of Gustave’s closest friends and confidants. It’s in the dealings between Gustave, Zero and the family of the deceased that things become even more hectic.
Coming off the success of his 2013 hit “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson adds yet another impressive film to his repertoire. The film, which is imprinted with Anderson’s signature style, blends every aspect of filmmaking to create a seemingly perfect masterpiece.
The acting, dialogue, set design and camera work is all fascinating. For this particular project, Anderson enlisted the help of his friends and veterans of his films: Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Kitel, Adrian Brody and Willem Dafoe and got fantastic results.
If praise should go to any of the aforementioned names, it should be to Brody and Dafoe. Brody, who portrayed Dmitri, the son of Gustave’s lover, played his part brilliantly and comedic, while Dafoe truly exemplified the characteristics of a deranged psychopath named Jopling.
Yet, this film owes much of its success to its two main stars: Ralph Fiennes, who is famous for his portrayal of Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise, as Gustave, and new-comer Tony Revolori as the serious-faced lobby boy, Zero.
The authority Fiennes brings to his character commands respect. Yet, his heart shines brightest through his scenes with Revolori. Revolori matches Fiennes’s quick-paced acting style and then some. Revolori’s reactions are hysterical, which is a testament to Anderson’s brilliant direction.
Yet, Revolori’s scenes with onscreen romance, Saoirse Ronan, who portrays pastry chef Agatha, lacks a bit of passion, but it plays a nice role in the overall storyline of love.
Something has to be said about the casting for Anderson’s films. Not only are there some brilliant and well-established actors, but Anderson has made it a point to boost the career of relatively unknown actors, such as Revolori or Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who gave a phenomenal performance as Sam and Suzy in “Moonrise Kingdom.”
Every member of the cast excels in their comedic timing, delivering gut-wrenching and tears-down-your-face comedy of all sorts, which is transformed into something even more magical with the direction of Anderson and his team of wonderful set designers.
It’s a hysterical film that captures the meaning of love with hilarious, and at times, heart-warming scenes. It’s no wonder Anderson surrounds himself with the same cast for most of his films. There is something magical about that ensemble performing together, something resembling familial love.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is rated R for language, violence and nudity and is currently playing in selected theaters. It runs for an hour and 40 minutes.