Anderson makes films like a kid constructing a model playset. Like a Victorian dolls house, perfectly put together and beautiful to look at, his work is often set in a fictional world full of artistic wonders. Fun-loving and care free, The Grand Budapest Hotel is no different. It is an elegant, madcap comedy, full of typical Wes Anderson traits, what is most of all a movie as funny as it is exciting to look at, if not, however, a little over-reliant on the fabulous Ralph Fiennes.
Three separate lines of narration set the stall out for this quirky comedy film featuring an ensemble cast full of frequent Anderson collaborators, such as the unrecognisable Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, and Bill Murray. It follows the tale of legendary concierge, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), who is the heart and soul of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and his most trusted lobby boy, Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), as they get tangled up in the affairs of deceased former hotel resident, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), and her greedy family.
Known more for his dramatic roles, Fiennes excels as the flamboyant, hard-working concierge. Witty, charming and with an alarming tendency to go to bed with the elderly clientele of the hotel, Fiennes’ charismatic portrayal is, despite all of its aesthetic delights, the making of the film. As fun as the playful action and chase sequences are to look at, scenes that lack his presence seem stale in comparison.
It is a true storybook tale – a story within a story within another story – with every flick of an eyebrow or elaborate set-piece perfectly placed by the meticulous Anderson. Like Moonrise Kingdom and Bottle Rocket before it, Anderson will face the usual accusations of going for style over substance, but the difference is that The Grand Budapest Hotel appears to be his sharpest, most meaningful and, without doubt, his funniest, work to date.