Right, one of the best films of 2014 is the Grand Budapest Hotel. This is a fact. Can’t deal with it? Go and watch the latest Transformers, you goddamn Commie! If you’re intrigued, read on Macduff!
It’s Wes Anderson’s latest (he did a marvellous film called The Squid and the Whale in 2005, with the awesome Laura Linney and awesome Jeff Daniels) and it centres around the eponymous hotel and its charismatic concierge, Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). This sets the scene for a quite fantabulous experience.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Monsieur Gustave H. runs the hotel with aplomb (and in a rather conniving way), but when he’s framed for murder by money hungry relatives of a former hotel regular (who bequeathed a large sum of money in Gustave H’s direction), events turn towards a hunt for redemption.
So what’s so good about it all? Fiennes’ brilliant performance, for a start, and the lively, innovative use of mise-en-scène, music, acting, and plot development. Everyone has this habit of scurrying about the place in an endearing manner, particularly Gustave as he’s trailed by his loyal Lobby Boy.
A consistently unusual feature are the cameos from major stars. Tilda Swinton (utterly unrecognisable) turns up, as do Bill Murray, Jude Law, and Amadeus star F. Murray Abraham. Jeff Goldblum’s there too, and a largely mute Willem Dafoe (whom Mr. Wapojif ended up standing next to in a Manchester city centre Tesco in 2013 – his claim to fame. Dafoe’s, that is. What a defining moment for his career!).
Visually it’s stunning, and the plot’s witty, often highly amusing, but ultimately poignant. It deserves an Oscar for something, but will it be noted? Well, there’s no need for us to head off on a verbose rampage. We don’t want to spoil the surprise. If you want to watch it, you will.