2014 / Director. Wes Anderson.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
It doesn't matter whether you love or loathe Wes Anderson because whichever side of the conversation you sit on, his films provide such a wonderful point of discussion. I do love him and trying to figure out which film of his is my favourite is near impossible and they do seem to change every time I think about it. His movies have become events and seeing them for the first time is nothing but pure joy. His latest film is THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, which tells the story of a strange hotel perched on a mountain top and recalls its colourful history. Of course being a Wes Anderson film means that it is uber quirky, surreal and comical. True to form he has crammed the movie with a HUGE ensemble of some of Hollywood's best, including staple Anderson players such as Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton and Owen Wilson (amongst others). Newcomers to the Anderson universe include Jeff Goldblum, Tom Wilkinson, F Murray Abraham and Saoirse Ronan (again, amongst others)... but the show stealing performance goes to Ralph Fiennes. He owns this film and gives what is possibly the performance of his career. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL has so much to sink your teeth into and I was personally caught up in it's wonderful use of miniatures and the overall artificial aesthetic that we've come to expect (and love) from Wes Anderson. The film plays out like a classic caper movie with an oddball, fairytale-like atmosphere. The pacing is fast and never skips a beat and every single player delivers accordingly. Unfortunately so many of the awesome personalities on display are only featured fleetingly. When they appear on screen you get a rush of excitement and they give the movie a boost of energy (like a mushroom in Mario Kart) but no sooner do they show up, they're gone... offering little more than a cheeky tease to the audience. I wish that Bob Balaban had been on screen for longer (I adore the man). Is THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Wes Anderson's best film? I know many people who would argue that it is. It's certainly great -- but my heart still lies with THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS.