The Grand Budapest Hotel

Film , Comedy
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(16 user reviews)
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The Grand Budapest Hotel

While other filmmakers get their hands dirty in kitchen sinks, Wes Anderson surely slips his into luxury cashmere mittens. His films overflow with intricate detail and make no pretence of existing in a world other than their own, just-about-earthbound parallel universe. So the five-star premises of his energetic new comedy ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ – a wedding-cake-like, pastel-coloured establishment situated somewhere in 1930s Mitteleuropa and peopled by eccentrics and lunatics – feel like business as usual. What’s different, though, is that the film’s shaggy-dog, sort-of-whodunit yarn offers laughs and energy that make this Anderson’s most fun film since ‘Rushmore’.

Where ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ had heart, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ has pace and a winning manic streak. It also gives Ralph Fiennes a rare comic role as Monsieur Gustave, a concierge who wavers brilliantly between thug and gentleman aesthete. From Gustave’s mouth pours a head-spinning cocktail of politeness and filth as he becomes embroiled in the murder investigation and inheritance tussles that follow the death of one of his most loyal guests, the elderly Madame D (Tilda Swinton, barely recognisable beneath a carapace of make-up). At Gustave’s side is his loyal apprentice, Zero Moustafa (newcomer Tony Revolori with a drawn-on pencil moustache), who decades later (now played by F Murray Abraham) recounts events over dinner to a writer played by Jude Law.

The rest of Anderson’s cast is sprawling and starry. Blink and you might miss Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and others in tiny roles. A bruising Adrien Brody and a Rottweiler-like Willem Dafoe represent a violent new European order – one of them is kitted out all in black, no less. In its own indirect and loopy fashion, is this Anderson’s most political film? It tips its hat to 1930s history in the way Hitchcock tipped his viewfinder to the same decade’s current affairs with ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (both films share a hotel, a train and an old woman at the centre of a mischievous mystery).

Like the ship of ‘The Life Aquatic’ or the townhouse of ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ comes with its own ready-made theatre and uniformed cast. From here, Anderson breaks out with verve on to trains, ski runs and cobbled streets to spin a wickedly funny tale that celebrates the final glory days of a dying world order. It’s all given a bombastic lift by an Alexandre Desplat score which crescendos in organs and drums. Full of Anderson’s visual signatures – cameras that swerve, quick zooms, speedy montages – it’s familiar in style, refreshing in tone and one of Anderson’s very best films.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday March 7 2014
Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wes Anderson
Screenwriter: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes
Saoirse Ronan
F Murray Abraham
Tilda Swinton
Tony Revolori
Adrien Brody

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|16
1 person listening
Geddy
1 of 1 found helpful

Disappointing. Expected so much more after The Life Aquatic, but this was just a pretentious mishmash of ideas and camp over-acting.

Suzy L
2 of 3 found helpful

This film is as beautifully packaged, sumptuously inviting and deliciously addictive as one of the beautiful pâttisserie from the films bakery- Mendl. And I felt I was devouring it, rather than watching it. Each individual scene is beautifully constructed, the audience is submerged in a demi-monde of outrageous colour and flamboyant style.

It roars along at a Keaton-esque pace of comic brilliance. The louche character of Gustave H. is superb and Ralph Fiennes’ timing is astounding. The whole ensemble cast are brilliant, especially the new talent (Tony Revolori) playing Zero.

I cannot remember leaving a cinema recently so thoroughly entertained and light-hearted. Loved it!

(If you think it pretentious, it is probably because you were looking for something that wasn’t there, darling.)

Grace I
Tastemaker

It's funny, often hilariously so, very silly and stylistic, but just sit back and enjoy it for the charming farce that it is. Some of my friends told me that they hated it and walked out before the end, but I really don't understand why. It's not the second coming or 'Apocalypse Now, or 'Citizen Kane' or something else packed with tremendous meaning (watch 'Inside Out' for that). It's just an amusing film. Ralph Fiennes is often wooden in his films but is fully alive here, and it's great to see Adrien Brody finally take on a role worth his talent (now if he can only find another movie like 'The Pianist' to do).

nicknickn
Tastemaker

The Grand Budapest Hotel is light, frothy escapism. The story is unlikely but likeable. The sets and set pieces are extraordinary and absorbing. The jokes are off-beat and sometimes off-colour. The costumes and the acting are camp. The characters are a lovely mixture of smarmy and sharp. I didn't find any great universal truths here but I smiled for an hour and a half!


Kirsty E
Tastemaker

Weird movie but surprisingly charming. So many different streams to the story that it sometimes seems to lose its way, but it gets there in the end. Lots of star performances in this, Fiennes and the relatively unknown Tony Revolori are a fantastic partnership and there are some great moments from Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody, Jude Law and Bill Murray. A beautifully told story, funny but sincere while dark in parts, it's hard to put a label on The Grand Budapest Hotel. It has a bit of everything. Well worth a watch!

Cookie Monster
moderatorStaff WriterTastemaker

A wonderful, quirky story full of great cameos. Ralph Fiennes plays the central character and clearly steals the show.

Timothy Chilvers

"title"


The film is beautifully told, and wonderfully staged. The difference between the grand old days and the dilapidated present is completely believable, while Anderson's writing is delivered exceptionally well by the cast. Slightly jarring is the amount of almost cameo like appearances by the likes of Owen Wilson, Bill Murray et al, who while charming and non-invasive don't have time to sell you on the role they play rather than the fact that they're there. Other than that, an excellent and silly story that is hugely enjoyable and engaging.

David W

Liked the settings and costumes, acting ok as well. But, film totally disappointing and could not wait to leave the cinema.

Michael D

A luvly quirky tale. The best I've seen by Wes Anderson. Ralph Fiennes shines, as does

Tony Revolori as Zero the lobby boy (watch out for him in the future). Many other stars in this movie do well but non more so than Willem Dafoe as an outstandingly comedic thug.

Liked it so much. I paid to see it again.

Louise P

A hugely enjoyable, skilfully-made film.  A visual feast, and some great acting performances, particularly from Ralph Fiennes.  Great plot too.  Go and see it and have fun - I did!

MikeT

Mildly amusing.  But this is no "great work", "timeless piece", or "masterpiece".

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To put its release date in context, The Grand Budapest Hotel's been released immediately after the Oscars and Golden Globes.  If this film really were of 4 star quality, it would have been released at least a couple months before the awards so it were nominated.  No film studio's going to hold off making a few bucks, with all the publicity an award would give the film, by waiting another year for a film to be nominated.

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Admittedly, it's better than a lot of other things released this week, but that's not saying much.  Once seen at the cinema, you won't be waiting for this to come out on DVD.  

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Alex Plim
0 of 1 found helpful
moderatorStaff Writer

A superbly idiosyncratic film – it refreshed my opinion of Ralph Fiennes entirely.