The Grand Budapest Hotel Screen 32 articles

The Grand Budapest Hotel

2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel Poster
  • Never funny, this coarseness instead typifies the tonal imbalance that impairs most of GBH, a project that, despite its lofty aims, shrinks everything to precious mini-size, much like the pastel-hued confections made by Zero’s baker’s-assistant sweetheart, Agatha (Saoirse Ronan, embellished with a port-wine stain on her face in the shape of an east-west flipped Mexico). Anderson’s film looks good enough to eat; swallowing it is another matter.

  • Multiple framing devices emphasize the historical inaccessability of what's being told; it's finally a story for one girl to read alone in a park with no company. Love is an inscription in sand to be washed away in Moonscape Kingdom; memory, weather, disease, history or plain unexpected death stalk his characters; the irrational, devouring Jaguar Shark is ever on the prowl. He's my kind of melancholic.

  • Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, so well-suited to handling personal loss, private resentments, tension within closed groups and moments of comic realization, is uneasily matched to the kind of loss felt by nations or peoples... particularly when the losses in question came long before his time. What redeems the film, to my mind, is the productive tension it sets up between its melancholic picture of Europe in decay and the manic, whiz-bang adventure story that makes up its central narrative.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel has all the charm, fussiness, and intricate whimsy typical of Anderson’s work. As often in his films, it cuts its preciosity with moments of offhand brutality (sliced-off fingers) and flashes of naughty sexuality (fellatio, the Egon Schiel painting). With its ensemble cast, sometimes deployed in cameos, it suggests a PoMo remake of those sprawling, self-congratulatory spoofs of the 1960s...

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel is a delightful contraption of a film, its characters gliding around like intricate moving parts, its camera lurching with signature, machine-like fluidity. It’s not, however, one of Anderson’sbest films. Gustave, funny though he is, never reveals the kind of hidden depths that distinguish the filmmaker’s great heroes—his Max Fischers, his Royal Tenenbaums. Nor does Zero’s polite-sidekick appeal blossom into anything richer...

  • ...Anderson is able to revisit a crisis point in modernity – specifically the outbreak of World War II – with an insouciance and a bemused distance that in no way approaches irony or a mocking historical presentism. Instead, Anderson treats the “world of yesterday” a bit like Stravinsky adopted Pergolesi, if not quite attaining the ideal of Pierre Menard’s “Cervantes.” That is to say, Anderson occupies this period from a distinct distance but with an undeniable sincerity and curiosity.

  • The eighth film by director Wes Anderson and, if not the best, certainly the most expansive and ambitious... There isn’t enough space here to describe how amazing the film looks. The production design is a character in its own right: the hotel’s colour-coded rooms, the unfeasibly enormous painting of a mountain valley that watches over the guests at dinner, the arching staircases like the two halves of Tower Bridge in the background. The detail... is relentlessly inventive.

  • The wistful undercurrent that underlies Anderson’s best work is muted here, but Grand Budapest’s surface is so intensely pleasurable that its loss isn’t keenly felt. Despite a closing acknowledgement to Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, this could only be Wes Anderson’s work; his unique sensibility is a national treasure.

  • Where Moonrise Kingdom had heart, The Grand Budapest Hotel has pace and a winning manic streak... Full of Anderson’s visual signatures—cameras that swerve, quick zooms, speedy montages—it’s familiar in style, refreshing in tone and one of Anderson’s very best.

  • The two primary strengths The Grand Budapest Hotel has going for it are, first, Fiennes’s utterly delightful performance as the non-flamboyantly gay concierge who busies himself with the hotel, Romantic poetry and elderly, rich, insecure and blond women, and second, the set design (and yes, costumes and makeup as well, but primarily the sets).

  • In skewing the narrative towards antebellum nostalgia, Anderson is doing what Gustave H. does, keeping the GBH open for as long as possible by laughing with ZZ men during the gathering storm; he's also doing what Zubrowka's great author does, spending 1968, the year of the Prague spring, soaking up someone else's memories from the era of dreamy wealth and private property. Art is the defiance of time?

  • Grand Budapest Hotel presents a whole network of people trying vainly to capture the ghosts of the past, communicating a telescoped nostalgia for worlds vanished before one was able to experience them. The sum effect is one of great sadness, but the formal precision also doubles as a form of optimism, facilitating the creation of clockwork realities which, if not approaching or precluding our own, can at least, in the words of one character here, "sustain the illusion with marvelous grace."

  • Gustave isn’t only the heart of this funneled narrative, he’s also its soul. Both the character and the film around him are hilarious and uncommonly vulgar, but neither is ever coarse – this is by far Anderson’s most violent and unforgiving movie, his coldest in every which way, but it treasures the sweetness that survives.

  • Even though from the outset The Grand Budapest Hotel announces itself as a jolly trifle, its cumulative power catches you daydreaming. Anderson has this innate ability to shoot a moment through with intense sadness with a repetition, a realisation or a tonal remove.

  • In the best cases, Anderson squares his paisley trick-bag of Godardian compositions and book of vintage carpet samples with a congruent thematic meaning. In 2011's excellent Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson's incurable nostalgia was a nostalgia for the lost summers of childhood. Here, in The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is either his best film or his best film since his last film, it's the waning of historical memory, of the past slipping irretrievably beyond some distant horizon.

  • Besides the inventiveness, hilarity and color, and, let’s be honest, good plain fun, of Anderson’s latest oeuvre, the movie’s most astonishing strengths are its ability to sustain an illusion of grace and throughout find space to make a humanist plea for an Understanding all-too rare in this Cynical Century.

  • [Anderson's] carefully crafted pop-up-book-esque frames translate to 1.37 : 1 quite beautifully, naturally privileging the characters, and their faces, within the compositions, in a way not possible in wide. This is representative also of the film's humanism—which, admittedly, has always been present in Anderson, but here has a new-found sophistication and impact.

  • Fans of the director’s distinctive lavish production design and use of sprawling all-star casts will not be disappointed, but the movie amounts to more than the sum of these superficial parts. Indeed, more than any of Anderson’s other works, Grand Budapest resonates on a deeper level, exploring how melancholia is inherent to the art of storytelling.

  • The best of the A-list fare was Wes Anderson’s period piece The Grand Budapest Hotel... [It] seems like a guaranteed classic, even if the director’s trademark stylistic tics are beginning to feel a bit like a template.

  • By aligning his movie so nearly with the viewpoint of his frivolous protagonist who, at the distance of two narrators and generations, is the controlling voice in the narrative, Anderson may seem himself frivolous, but this facility is paradoxically a kind of profundity. The last thing that can bring WWII closer to us now is more drab olive and gray, more sumo-press insistence on the weight of events...

  • Having crafted elaborate mini-universes in film after film, the hotel represents simultaneously the most idealistic and most self-conscious expression of the pure, untainted world Anderson’s films and characters have strived for. What gives the film such poignancy is that its utopia is acknowledged as something elusive and illusory. Anderson erects four layers of temporal and psychological remove...

  • In solely the composition, color, and lighting of his scenes, there is intense yet elusive emotion. Watching the film is like taking a stroll in a gallery of the Metropolitan museum, just pausing long enough for the feeling of a painting to hit you, and then quickly moving on. In the rhythm of the edits, too, he seems to have had a breakthrough. It may be the freedom of the square aspect ratio, but he jarringly cuts from profile to close-up in free and bizarrely expressionistic ways.

  • ...Anderson’s universe, as refined as ever, is under siege. Exterior forces of fascism, like a dead guest’s furious grandson (Adrien Brody) and his thuglike henchman (Willem Dafoe), gather, representing the end of happy days. The auteur’s style—dramatic zooms, winking symmetry—is balanced against a newfound political context; this one’s his To Be or Not to Be.

  • As much as "The Grand Budapest Hotel" takes on the aspect of a cinematic confection, it does so to grapple with the very raw and, yes, real stuff of humanity from an unusual but highly illuminating angle. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a movie about the masks we conjure to suit our aspirations, and the cost of keeping up appearances.

  • Anderson has always striven to devise alternative universes of his own; The Grand Budapest Hotel is his most complete fabrication yet, a fanatically and fantastically detailed, sugar-iced, calorie-stuffed, gleefully overripe Sachertorte of a film. According to taste, it will likely either enchant or cloy; but for those prepared to surrender to its charms, the riches on offer – both visual and narrative – are considerable.

  • Once the film began rolling, I realized that Anderson’s colorful attire was actually his subtle synchronization with the film’s leading character, Monsieur Gustave H. This character dons the same shade of plum throughout the entire film, and soon I couldn’t help but see that the similarities between the two went far beyond their purple garb. The fascinating parallels between Anderson and his leading man make this film his most soulful and self-reflective work to date.

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is about the spiritual heritage and the political force of those long-vanished styles—about the substance of style, not just the style of his Old World characters but also, crucially, Anderson’s own. This isn’t Anderson’s most personal film, in the strict sense, but it is, alongside “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” his most reflexive one—even more so because the new film exposes the inner workings not just of his practice of filmmaking but of his sensibility.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel is an extremely funny film, though the humor may have you chuckling mutedly, one eyebrow arched, rather than guffawing. It’s also a very sad film, charged with a nostalgic melancholy that is part of its very structure... The nostalgia for a lost world that never was is more acute in The Grand Budapest Hotel than in any of Anderson’s films, and it’s the flippancy of the whole enterprise... that makes the superficiality so poetic—or if you like, so paradoxically deep.

  • If Anderson has previously allowed his twee melancholy to suffocate his storytelling, The Grand Budapest Hotel makes his fixation with the past, in Gustave’s fight to preserve his cherished, outmoded customs against the inexorable march of history, into the very stuff of its drama. It is, of course, a losing battle, but it’s difficult not to marvel at the effort.

  • There’s a touch of Groucho in Gustave’s loping run, attraction to rich dowagers, and arch one-liners, and something of Stefan Zweig in his groomed mustache, practiced bonhomie, and what Hannah Arendt, not a fan, termed the writer’s “hypersensitivity to social humiliation.” (Interestingly, Anderson has also cited Eichmann in Jerusalem as an influence on his film.)

  • Like a few of Jean Renoir's heroes, the characters in Wes Anderson's latest and greatest film are scrambling to maintain a degree of compassion and stately civility in the midst of the unfathomable symbolic rise of the Axis party.

  • No less than his other films, The Grand Budapest Hotel elevates as a fundamental value the refusal to let environment and circumstance determine identity. Idiosyncrasy isn’t an indulgence; seemingly precious details are nothing less than bulwarks against the slow creep of twilight. That Gustave H., standing in for his creator, is aware of the futility of the effort makes this Anderson’s most affecting movie yet.

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