The Grand Budapest Hotel, given its setting, backdrop, timeline and formal device, can be an interesting study on how it might have shaped in the hands of an East European filmmaker – I Served the King of England, Jiri Menzel’s searing adaptation of Hrabal’s brilliant novel, and Istvan Szabo’s Bupadespt Tales and 25 Fireman Street, in particular, provide potent cases of “what if” analyses. In Wes Anderson’s hands, it was filled with his customary penchant for whimsical humour, idiosyncrasy, farce and exquisite aesthetic detailing; simultaneously, the picaresque and allegorical story was shorn off its potential for socio-political statement and satire. It begins with a writer speaking about his visits to the titular hotel and his chance acquaintance with the hotel’s aged and reclusive owner Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) from whom he learns about his unbelievable journey from being a lobby boy to its owner. The narrative then shifted to circa 1932 when Zero (Tony Revolori), an illegal immigrant to the fictitious Republic of Zubrowka, gets the menial job in the opulent and luxurious hotel, and becomes, progressively, a devoted pupil, partner-in-crime and friend of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the hotel’s popular (particularly amongst the aged female guests) and larger-than-life concierge. Gustave gets embroiled in a spectacular tale of mystery and deceit, following the death of one of his patrons (Tilda Swinton), which occupied the rest of the engaging, if overly labyrinthine, story. Fiennes gave a marvelous deadpan comic turn, and was aided by the stellar ensemble cast which also comprised of Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, Edward Norton, Mathiew Amalric, Harvey Keitel, Billy Murray, Tom Wilkinson, Jude Law et al.
Director: Wes Anderson
Genre: Comedy/Ensemble Film/Mystery