Wes Anderson’s newest film lives up to expectations

the grand budapest hotel imageThe Grand Budapest Hotel is American filmmaker Wes Anderson’s most anticipated, most star-studded, most European and most marvelous project yet.

Ralph Fiennes plays M. Gustave, the smooth-talking concierge of the title hotel. Gustave is known for running an immaculate hotel, as well as having a reputation for being intimate with extremely old and rich woman. However, things go sour when the concierge is framed for murdering the elderly Madame D., played by Tilda Swinton, and battles with her villainous sons, played by Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe, over custody of a priceless renaissance painting.

As any fan would know, there is a checklist for every Wes Anderson film: quirky characters, bright colors, symmetry, vintage knick knacks, over-hand shots, clever dialogue and a cameo from Bill Murray, Owen Wilson or Jason Schwartzman. Luckily, The Grand Budapest Hotel included all of these, but what made it a little different from his past films was the frequent action.

The film starts off with Anderson’s usual charms like a whimsical frosting colored miniature version of the hotel and instant introduction to flamboyant characters. It is when Mr. Moustafa, played by F. Murray Abraham, tells the story to a young writer, played by Jude Law, of how we came to own the hotel that the action begins. From that point on, wild antics ensue including a prison break, a wild bobsled chase and a mass shootout.

This is the first film Anderson shot in Europe and is loosely based on Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig’s autobiography.The author details fleeing from the Nazi regime during the early 1940s and laments the end of the renaissance that took place in Vienna and the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power. Zweig, a proud anti-nationalist and pacifist during the war, wrote the novel while he was exiled in Brazil where later committed suicide.

Beneath the cotton-candy colored film, lies the sorrow of something beautiful being lost. In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest was fresh and vibrant but as the years went on, like anything touched by war, it lost its original dreamy qualities. This is best seen in the film through Mr. Moustafa holding on tight to the precious memories connected to the battered palace. However, that is not to say that the film is heavy. As mentioned earlier, this is a classic Wes Anderson production meaning it is a comedy with decant fun and delicious visuals.

The much anticipated The Grand Budapest Hotel showed in only four theaters in the United States on March 7 and, according to the Huffington Post, pulled in $811,166 making it the highest-grossing -live-action limited showing to date. Wes Anderson fans nationwide seemed to clear their calendars last weekend when the film (finally) opened to 304 theatres nationwide and, according to the LA Times, brought in an average $23,000 per theater. Currently, TGBH is ranked at No.7 at the box office with ticket sales reaching an impressive $13.2 million.

I give this movie four out of five stars and recommend it to Anderson or Woody Allen fans, those who enjoy the occasional dark joke, lovers of New Age French cinema, and anyone looking to have a positive experience at the theater.