Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jude Law. These are only some of the big names you can find in this movie. Really, is anyone not in this movie?

The story unraveled itself in the form of a story within a story within a story. No, that was not an error; there really are three levels of narrative. It sounds confusing, but thankfully, it was handled beautifully. At the core of the movie is the vain, egocentric, insecure concierge M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and lobby boy Zero Mustafa (Tony Levolori). The two were plunged into sticky but oh-so-hilarious situations as Gustave was framed for the murder of Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), with whom he had a relationship that went beyond professional context. Hence, Gustave, with the help of the ever faithful Zero, set off on a wacky adventure to clear his name.

This movie is a riot. I mean it in a good way. There are plenty to laugh about, with cleverly set sequences that are very charming and well thought out. The humour and the bizarre-yet-entertaining plot are helped along with effective use of music; credit goes to Alexander Desplat, who managed to convey so much with a note or two. (Okay, random digression: I went to Youtube to seek out the soundtrack for this film, and just listening to the music transported me back to the movie. It’s simply perfect, regardless of what Hans Zimmer fans say in the comment section.)

The characters are all interesting in their own ways. It was not hard to be endeared by Gustave, despite his self-centeredness and his pompousity. Zero as the steady, loyal sidekick was very human and likeable. However, my favourite character is Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), who was sensible and dependable. Dragged into their misadventures by her association with Zero, she was the character to root for even though her screen time was limited.

All in all, if you are one to enjoy quirky characters stuck in bizarre situations and dark humour, you will enjoy this movie. Wes Anderson’s style worked wonders here to give us a memorable comedy done right.

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