The Grand Budapest Hotel: A Review

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Few modern filmmakers can ship you to an entirely offbeat yet delightful era with a unique sense of belonging to the same. The audience is transited to the right side of history, reminding you of a simpler life and a distinct discipline that existed. The Grand Budapest Hotel  which is perched remarkably on a mountain peak as war comes close, revels within its old-world charms along with its inhabitants.

Set in three time zones, the beginning of the movie transports you to a pink macaroon fictional land, named Zubrowka, which is classic Anderson, corresponding to Hungary not more than blue corresponds to burgundy. Anderson’s cinematic and visual phenomenon, his attention to details and subtle evening trysts are brilliant and in most ways, the movie surely makes up as his best so far.

The plot introduces talented actors and characters every ten minutes. But Ralph Fiennes playing Mr Gustave, remains our favourite throughout, along with his protégé and the hotel’s lobby boy, Zero Mustafa (mirroring Zero Mostel in the McCathy era). Don’t let the name fool you; Zero is quite mischievous as he narrates the story of The Grand Budapest Hotel in all its glory. The hotel in the 30s, has gorgeous red interiors and gilded elevators. Wealthy businessmen and their lonely wives renting expensive suites and consuming gallons of champagne while munching on bubble gum macaroons, are entertained by the lovable Mr Gustave, the hotel’s concierge.

Gustave’s sexual desires for the ageing female patrons leave you wondering as his past never really unravel. The story speeds up as one of the many moneyed ladies die mysteriously, leaving Mr Gustave on the run from Nazi officers and a psychopath killer, accused of stealing a priceless painting and killing the woman (the ever so charming Tilda Swinton). The faithful sidekick dashes around Europe, ignoring his whims and fancies, and breaks Gustave out of prison, appealing to the secret brotherhood of hotel employees to clear his name.

The movie at times, can be hard to follow, taking up a ton of pauses and replays. Accommodating to Wes Anderson’s preference of style over substance tends to overwhelm the audience. The plot has a murder, a bulk load of flashbacks, theft, spine-chilling chases (including a snow chase), jailbreaks and secrecy of the “Crossed Keys”. The ever forbidden need of trust and love between a master and his protégé is relived and hits your emotional chord. Not to mention, Gustave’s constant breaking into beautiful poetry which is often interrupted by life leaves you mesmerised. Throughout the movie, the verses flourish with thought and profanity, stirring up a brilliant façade of pain and suffering, the last one being a cliff-hanger (literally). Several stories are interwoven collectively with an impactful narrative about the insides of The Grand Budapest Hotel where doors open up only to more doors, similar to the house of Madam D.

All this happens while World War II  is slowly crawling up towards Zebrowka. But the fact that The Grand Budapest Hotel resembles to a dollhouse makes the war disappear; only reflecting in the after affects.

One is never told who the murderer is and considering the amount of time that is devoted to building the plot, it is completely unacceptable. But such is the magic of Anderson; he leaves you wanting more, like always.

Lavanya Grover

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