film review: the grand budapest hotel
everything you need to know about wes anderson's latest movie.
photo courtesy of fox searchlight
In typical Anderson fashion, the story is told in the past tense: first by Zero (played by F. Murray Abraham in this future timeline) to an author (Jude Law) in the '60s. It's then transformed by that author into a book in the '80s (Tom Wilkinson plays the author in this segment). And of course, in the most typical Anderson fashion, the costumes, sets, graphic design, and comedic punchlines are gorgeous, decadent, and better than ever. The film is more complex than any of his past works, and covers more capital-T themes than ever before--love, death, war, sex, political terror, law, murder--and yet somehow still manages to feel less serious than any of his other movies. This is largely due to the fact that with a cast of big-name actors large enough to require a separate movie poster just for all their faces, no one is allowed enough screen time to truly burrow their way into the audience's hearts. So what if somebody gets whacked?! It still doesn't feel as important Richie's gallery of Margot paintings in the ballroom on the fourth floor. But maybe that's not a bad thing.
This is Anderson going where he wants to go. It's no accident that the aspect ratios change throughout the film, the shots are more asymmetrical, the design is more meticulous, the perfect-ness is all the more perfect. Even the things that threaten to tear the beautiful world of The Grand Budapest Hotel apart are gorgeous and odd, like Edward Norton's boyish grin--granted, one that's attached to a body dressed in the uniform of brutal military captain. In this world, the past is perfect even in its flaws. Sometimes it's a nice relief to pack up your 21st century necessities, turn off your phone, and just let the nostalgia sink in.
The Grand Budapest Hotel opens today, March 7.