Sometimes I forget that I’m a little spoiled to have gotten to see the new Wes Anderson a couple weeks earlier than the rest of the world in New York this past week, and oh is this one such a fun story to watch as some of your favorite regulars appear as cameos in and out of the story of THE legendary Grand Budapest Hotel, tucked away somewhere in Mitteleuropa where only the oldest and finest of customers come to spend their time in mythical Zubrowka.
But not all are plainly in-and-out of the hotel on business or holiday, there are few who spend the greater part of their lives in rooms along the corridors of this fine establishment. Told in a series of flashbacks by the most respected Lobby Boy in the history of Grand Budapest Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) (formerly known as Zero in his earlier days, played by Tony Revolori who is nothing but amazing the entire time), working directly under M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), there’s a feel for Anderson’s latest that is a little more magical and well thought out than previous films.
The story plays out with typical Anderson elegance as an era of Nazi-ism is being born in Mitteleuropa, but not in any way that would make it considered a “war” movie. It is in the characters we see a reflection of the “times”, whether it be police brutality whilst traveling by train, or the dominant authoritativeness (and treatment of young and old ladies alike!) in the most powerful figures of the Grand Budapest. In Moustafa’s confessions to a young writer (Jude Law) over dinner, numerous stories within stories—some funny, some absurd—are reborn, making the audience have no choice but laugh along at the shoe shiner boy with a prosthetic leg, or the young hotel baker Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) with a scar across her face the shape of Mexico whom young Zero can’t help but fall in love with.
Deeper than the story itself there is one particular “thing” that makes the movie: a painting titled “Boy With Apple” that is worth a fortune, belonging to the hotel’s original landlady Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) that ends up being worth quite the chase in the end, as her son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) fights for the work’s worth after the two hotel gurus Zero and M. Gustave replace it with a slightly less appropriate painting after deciding to steal it one night.
So YES: this is a total Wes Anderson movie that might make you be like, seriously? SERIOUSLY, Wes Anderson (imagine: one of his movies not having a weird childlike obsession; it just wouldn’t seem right)??? Either way, The Grand Budapest Hotel is fun. Plus, you get Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray that take part in making the movie always seem worth it.