Indie & Foreign
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel isn't just everything I look for in a Wes Anderson movie, it's what a I wish for in a movie-going experience. It's that good. Everything from the music to the crafty attention to details screams passion. I'm willing to bet that you won't find a tighter representation of a director's universe in 2014.

Rating  

A loving ode to storytelling wrapped in surprising aspect ratios.

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Tom Wilkinson, simply known as Author, is given the task to encapsulate this whole story within a story within a story. He’s also a perfectly-framed narrator who clearly takes good care of his study room. A few seconds into his retelling, the camera gets distracted by a playful kid in a laugh-out-loud moment. Right there and then, you have your perfect Anderson moment: neat mood creation followed by mood destruction. If it gets on your nerves, you have the right to close the television and go watch CSI: Something.

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Our first visit to the instantly-famous Grand Budapest Hotel is a thing of beauty. Could someone rich please recreate the whole thing in a Disney theme park somewhere? I’m pretty sure its color palette could heal blind eyes.

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M. Gustave is a distinguished man who wears Eau de Panache proudly. He is a neat dresser, a strict boss, and a granny lover. I must admit, that last part was surprising. His love for older ladies is touched upon in a casual manner because, it seems, it’s not the age of the ladies he cares the most for. It’s the color of their hair. Genius.

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Just when you though everything was right in this world, a small dose of darkness is introduced as Madame D.’s murder takes center stage. Whodunit? Could it be Andrien Brody with his funny hair and doubtful political leanings? Or Serge X., her mustachioed butler with a menacing name? It turns out that the police force, led by a deliciously self-aware Edward Norton, thinks it’s M. Gustave, who has no choice but to flee the scene gracefully. This movie is amazing.

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I tell you, Willem Dafoe has been creeping the hell out of me since Streets of Fire. Moreso than Christopher Walken (he dances a lot, you see) or Michael Pitt (please don’t watch Funny Games if you haven’t). This movie did not help me overcome my nightly fears. The way he creeps on Jeff Goldblum in a magnificent near-silent sequence still haunts me a few days later.

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I still can’t believe how effective the soundtrack is in creating a closed-circuit universe like no other Wes Anderson movie has done before. I have enjoyed his use of British rock and roll as much as the next guy, but the fact that he dared to layer this latest universe with energetic and eclectic sounds helps it rise above the rest of his work. Just pay attention to the scene where Zero and M. Gustave follow breadcrumbs laid by the priests and you’ll know what I mean.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Geeky” title=”Tiny models chase scene.”/]

Awesome. Just plain fantastic. Jopling slaloms his way out of a crime scene, so M. Gustave and Zero have no choice but to bobsleigh straight to him. The stage is set for a series of visual gags that hit the mark one after the other. This movie has so many ideas up its sleeve, it might bankrupt David Copperfield very soon. Sorry for the dated reference, I’m a child of the nineties.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Heartbreaking” title=”The Russian doll ending hits the mark.”/]

As the movie zigzagged all the way to the end, something truly magical happened: it touched me. Zero Mustafa wraps up everything matter-of-factly, from the death of the love of his life to the eventual demise of M. Gustave. He is able to find such beauty in these events that I couldn’t help but be surprised by the built-up emotion in my throat. Anyone knocking on this movie needs to start looking for a spare soul on eBay.


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