The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
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DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: WES ANDERSON

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014) *** ½

Well, Wes Anderson keeps his incredible streak going. The man has made eight movies so far and there hasn’t been a bad one in the bunch. Half of them (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Moonrise Kingdom) have been instant classics. His latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, isn’t quite in the same league as those films, but it is pretty awesome.

Ralph Fiennes stars as M. Gustave, the concierge of the titular hotel who makes a habit out of romancing rich widows. When one such widow (Tilda Swinton) dies under mysterious circumstances, she leaves him a valuable painting in her will. Her spiteful family (headed by Adrien Brody) then blames him for the murder and Gustave is sent to jail. He eventually escapes, and with the help of his faithful lobby boy (Tony Revolori), Gustave sets out to clear his name.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is full of all the quirky characters and dialogue you’d expect from a Wes Anderson joint. It also features some of the best use of font in his entire career. (I have this image in my head of Anderson taking as much time crafting the font for all his movies with the same care he takes in sculpting his script.) The impressive supporting cast (which includes Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe, and F. Murray Abraham) are all excellent. I do think that some of the cameos by Anderson regulars (like Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Bob Balaban) fall flat because they really aren’t given much to do.

The film starts out fairly great. However, it runs on a bit too long and some of the complications that arise in the third act seem out of step with the rest of the movie. But the flick does have a great prison break sequence and a good amount of surprising gore, so that almost makes up for it.

But if you still need a reason to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, then see it for Fiennes’ performance. The man is firing on all cylinders here. You wonder why it took him so long to star in a Wes Anderson movie because he is a perfect vessel for Anderson’s idiosyncratic dialogue. The Oscar race has already started and I would be shocked if Fiennes didn’t get nominated for his performance here.

Fiennes also gets the best line of the movie when he tells Swinton, “You’re shaking like a shitting dog!”

Tags: .director spotlight, comedy, g
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