The Grand Budapest Hotel
4 / 5
A wonderfully quirky and delightful film.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a fantastically fresh and sensational film depicting the life of a legendary concierge Monsieur Gustave, played magnificently by the utterly brilliant Ralph Fiennes and the extraordinary businesses of the famous hotel that he runs.
The film is split effectively into 5 parts and within each of them is a part of the story that brings us closer to the epilogue, where Jude Law is listening to an older Zero at the famous hotel tell the thrilling tale of Gustave and a young Zero which begins in the prologue. The setting: the Grand Budapest Hotel in 1932, a gigantic establishment in a fictional Central European mountain range in the Republic of Zubrowka. Gustave is voracious and meticulous, investing an ardent pride and putting every sinew of effort into maintaining his incredibly high standards that he has set, not only for himself, but for every staff member. He has aura of gentlemanly worldliness and obsequious confidence with the grander clientele, but he can also easily slip back into quasi-military precision when dealing with his subordinates. Fiennes is exceptional in this role, and I could not imagine any other actor achieving the perfect balance of his high-camp familiarity with guests or his strict demeanour concerning the standards of every aspect of the hotel’s reputation that he expects from every person in the hotel.
The story’s centrepoint is the death of eminent guest, 84-year-old widow Madame Celine Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis (Madame D), and the subsequent farcical bust-up between Gustave and her family over the contested wills she has made, and also the mystery behind her sudden death. At the reading of her will, Gustave is bequeathed a famous painting which enrages Madame D’s money-grabbing family and also shines the light of Gustave as the main suspect in a murder investigation. This then triggers a chain of events that sees a plethora of fantastical events take place: robbery, prison breakout, pursuits, murder and all of these exciting and terrifying events all take place with Gustave’s quirky humour and light-hearted quips.
This is a delightful film, full of wit, cleverness and action, which is aided by the speedy pace of director’s direction. Fiennes and Tony Revolori (Zero) had sublime rapport between each other and it was made very evident on the screen. The supporting cast of Adrien Body, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Owen Wilson are all very good in aiding the two obvious stars in this refreshing and eccentric adventure.