The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson - and, unfortunately, Owen Wilson (for the last time?)

This is Wes Anderson's first film. ... Well, that's how it should be regarded. It's complex, concentrated, politically aware, and aesthetically satisfying. It's his first film for grownups, after six for children.

It still has some juvenile moments, such as the shootout across the upper grand vestibule of the hotel. There is no motivation for most of this, no-one gets shot, and no-one looks scared (except for Gustave, and then only in a caricatural way). But most of the film is characterised by maturity, and depth.

There are other aspects which seem (to me) to come from the same children's play-acting that are found in earlier Anderson films: the non-realistic funicular, and the silly 'winter olympics' chase when our heroes chase the skiing bad guy on a random sled down the ski jump and the bobsled course. But these bits of fun now seem like intrinsic parts of the grand fantasy at the centre of which is the between-wars spa hotel and its impossible concierge with his air of panache.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 17 March, 2017 | Now: 24 May, 2017