Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Plot: Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is concierge at a grand resort hotel in the mountains in Europe. He runs the hotel with insane attention to detail, and he romances the elderly female guests too -- which may be the key to the hotel's prosperity. He takes on an refugee, Zero (Tony Revolori) as a personal assistant. When a longtime guest dies, Gustave inherits valuable painting, and the children of the deceased are out to get him. [SPOILERS FOLLOW SKIP TO REVIEW SECTION] Soon war breaks out, Gustave is framed for a murder, and ends up in prison. Gustave and his prison friends engineer a crazy complicated breakout. Gustave, Zero and Zero's girlfriend Agatha (Saorirse Ronan) conspire to find a hidden second will and the movie ends happily 

Review: Grand Budapest Hotel  is an absurd comedy where everything is mad and deliberately unreal.  It is both a refreshing diversion from other styles of movie making, and a satirical mediation on how weird regular life is too. 

There are many running gags. One I liked was the un-natural speed of all the transportation. It just zips along about 50% too fast, which reminds us, that everything in this world is strange.

Having said that, the feel of the movie is staged and contrived. The character relationships are not deep, the photography is bland, and the music is forgettable.

While I like the novelty, it is not really fun to watch and the film's ideas are not especially interesting. 

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saorirse Ronan, F. Murry Abraham, Adrien Brody, and Jeff Goldblum

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Rating: 2.0 stars: almost recommended, -- refreshing after a diet of normal movies. It is funny in places and I liked the cameos. 

More: The movie is a flashback inside a flashback. In the present, a young woman is reading the book by the film's nameless narrator, and inside that flashback the hotel owner is telling his personal story to the narrator. Why? And why do present-day people put their keys on the narrator's tomb?

Even more: Why is the Grand Budapest Hotel on a mountaintop and NOT in Budapest?