The Grand Budapest Hotel – Review

Frazer Lough
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A film of sheer exuberance, Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom) invites us into the mystery of The Grand Budapest Hotel. If one thing can be said about Anderson it is that he doesn’t shy away from vibrancy and style. In fact Grand Budapest is laced with with it from head to toe.

Narrated by the young writer (Jude Law) who is giving an account of what happened to The Grand Budapest, from its wondrous glory to its run down state and led by the somewhat peculiar M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), The Grand Budapest provides top rate service, with a little extra from Gustave. The flamboyant concierge is not so easy to impress, taking on Zero (Tony Revolori) as his new lobby boy, a relationship that develops into one of great affection and becomes the true centre of the film.

His greatest lover and guest is Madame D (Tilda Swinton), an 86 year old Duchess who often frequents The Grand Budapest purely for Gustave, as do most of the guests at the hotel. However, when Madame D is murdered, Gustave is the number one suspect.


In a plan to uncover the truth behind her death, Zero and Gustave enlist the help of Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), Zero’s fiancée, to track down Serge, the only man who can clear Gustave’s name. With a dispute over Madame D’s will and the artistic masterpiece Boy With Apple between Gustave and her eldest son Dmitri (Adrien Brody), discovering the truth is not an easy task.

Ralph Fiennes puts in a performance that is simply superb, offering that certain something that goes perfectly with a Wes Anderson film. Possibly on par with one of his best performances, Fiennes takes on the role of the flamboyant concierge with such ease. Ronan and Revolori also put in brilliant performances perfectly matching up with the slightly bonkers work of Anderson. The cast truly grasp the weird and wonderful of The Grand Budapest Hotel, delivering each line with matching style. It must be applauded that no detail was left to be unimpressive, from the candy cane colours that are with us throughout the film to the more minute detail, everything is simply lavish.

 Though set in a somewhat fictional town the film draws on the social tensions that were apparent in Europe in the 1930s. Anderson has made sure every last detail is exquisite and vibrant. The film may not be full of substance but Anderson is a man that delivers bucket-loads of style to anything he lays his hands on. Anderson has perhaps been known to try and somewhat pull on the heartstrings of those watching, but in Grand Budapest this tactic is gone. As the film progresses it gets funnier, from alpine skiing shots to Gustave’s quick wit.  The film is quirky, kitsch and pretty much wonderful.  Another brilliant trip in to the mind of writer and director Wes Anderson and a ride that shouldn’t be missed. 

About Frazer Lough

A 19 year old Linguistics student, hailing from the great city of Newcastle. Technically a Geordie, definitely Northern.