Movie Review: Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Grand Budapest Hotel movie still

Wes Anderson takes his extraordinary visual style and purposeful storywriting to another level with Grand Budapest Hotel, backed with a lineup of great veteran actors

It certainly felt like watching a more sophisticated Tim Burton film but without all that pretentious goth and poetic dialogues. What am I talking about? Wes Anderson’s genre isn’t fantasy, although it does look like it. Personally, I think that Anderson has way surpassed Burton in terms of direction and writing for live action films. They each have their own spectacular taste in set designs and the people they work so effectively with in almost every film, and for Anderson, it’s the brilliant cinematographer, Robert Yeoman. With the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Willem Defoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton and many more, Grand Budapest is a massive delightful fun, with high possibility for numerous award nominations next year.

The story’s about an author’s (played by Jude Law) trip to the legendary Grand Budapest Hotel where he finds it somewhat disappointing with its poor condition and lack of customers. He is invited by its owner, Zero (F. Murray Abraham), for dinner where he recounts his interesting and yet bizarre journey of being the owner of the hotel from starting off as just a young immigrant lobby boy (Tony Revolori), working under Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the famous perfectionist but kind concierge who did almost anything to please the hotel’s guests. Things get out of hand when one of his closest wealthy guest is murdered, although the crime scene is far away from the hotel.

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Every sequence is meticulously and sophisticatedly written, and beautifully designed as well. Every quick wit in every scenes on every colourful set hits every note of film, it’s just impeccably impressive. I would simply call this art but it will definitely seem a little boring for the younger audience and those who just wouldn’t get it. We’d have a glimpse of Wes Anderson’s further progressive ways with shocking, unexpected gore. I wouldn’t mind more surprises like this in his future projects.

Besides that, the emotional relationship between the characters also play a huge role in the film’s success. Harry Porter’s Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List) is, hands down, the star of the movie playing the funny straight-postured, quick-talking perfectionist, Gustave, a great employer who develops heir relationship with the insignificant lobby boy Zero, a straight-staring and hopeful character played by Tony Revolori. The rest of the cast, too, delivered a brilliant display with their hilarious roles, perhaps except for Saoirse Ronan (The Host), who failed to command presence for her minor character, Agatha.

Grand Budapest Hotel Meme

The only issue with the film is the rather rushed ending with major things unexplained, although it can be considered a less Hollywood one, to stir the audience to ponder and discuss about it. Regardless of that, the film successfully conveys its deeper meanings with cherries on top – kindness, discipline, loyalty and some times unorthodox methods can bring real friendship and differences to others. Great company and quality service are most essential, the place comes second, otherwise it’s nothing but a grand empty lot. Gustave has sex with old married ladies, but so what? He brings them rare happiness and in the end, they all go back to their own homes. Is that really wrong?

What I would’ve named the film: “Forgetting Tim Burton Hotel”

Censorship in Malaysia: Only sex was cut at the media screening, and thank goodness it was cut as it’s between two very old people.

Second opinion: Sorry, none this time as I went to the screening alone.

Verdict: A step beyond Wes Anderson’s own 2013 film, Moonrise Kingdom, although not as controversial. Perhaps the first 2014 film to be considered for next year’s Oscars. If this was released last year, this would’ve been within my top 10 movies of 2013 list.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Grand Budapest Hotel movie poster malaysiaRated: 18
Genre: Comedy drama
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director-writer: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton

Malaysia Release Date: April 3rd 2014 (at GSC International Screens only)
Local Distributor: 20th Century Fox Malaysia
Studio(s): American Empirical Pictures, Indian Paintbrush, Studio Babelsberg

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  1. Nana Eddy

    your review made me regret saying no to the invitation… I wanted to go… but the screening is at Pavillion. I really do not relish the thought of driving over there during peak hours. if there's someone fetching me to go, that would have been a different story. hehe.

    I'll put it on the long list of movies I'll most probably watch when I can (and if I remember). heheh.

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  2. nice nice

    Can I ask if the sex scene you mentioned above has nudity, such as the breast of the woman cause I am not comfortable with those things. Plus are the nude pictures on the jail cell wall noticeable, censored or very visible?

  3. nice nice

    Can I ask if there is nudity of the old woman, the breast, or the nude pictures on the jail cell wall very visible or censored cause I am not comfortable with those things.

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      Unless you're not watching at the cinemas in Malaysia, you'd most likely see a completely nude old lady getting penetrated from behind. But I'm only guessing 'cause as I said, it was censored at the screening I went to. I don't remember seeing any nude photos in the jail cells but there is a nude painting that's focused in a few scenes.

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