For Reel

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
April 3, 2014, 12:21 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Wes Anderson
4.5 Stars
The Grand Budapest HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel fully delivers on the promise of director Wes Anderson, beautiful merging his early-career sense of bittersweet melancholy with his more recent propensity for all-out screwball antics. This duality is necessary–what saves the picture from the over-indulgent confectionery trappings of Anderson’s latest productions is the potent sense of sadness and loss that permeates every frame. These are characters that one feels genuine affection for–they aren’t smothered by the sophisticated production design, nor does their sense of humanity come off as limited by the affectations that they have been given. By the end, audiences might be surprised by just how much they have come to care for M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and Zero (Tony Revolori), and more precisely the unusual relationship that they’ve developed over the course of the lovingly detailed comic tapestry. Similarly, the pre-World War II setting details the steady rise of fascism and the loss of gentlemen like Gustave, who simply isn’t cut out for what is to come. As interested as Anderson is in world history, his use of film history is also quite provocative–switching between aspect ratios is not only a gimmicky trick to distinguish between time periods (Anderson makes it so that Gustave seems necessarily 1.37:1–something about his straight-forward demeanor demands the confines of a smaller frame), but to suggest a certainly universality in the film-going experience and in narrative storytelling itself.

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