FILM REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel, (2014)

“It’s delightful,It’s delicious, It’s delirious It’s delectable, It’s dilemma It’s de limit, It’s deluxe It’s de-lovely”
   Thank you Cole Porter. The Grand Budapest Hotel is all of these things. Wes Anderson has proved himself to be as smooth as glass, as breezy as a zephyr, as sophisticated and as archly witty as Porter himself. From the beautifully designed pastel-hued hotel exterior with its wedding cake embellishments to the too-picture perfectly shaped and placed trees on the mountaintop location Anderson plays with scale, color, and depth of field to create a totally fairy tale quality.
   The time frame is between the wars - an imaginary country somewhere in middle Europa. The characters are very much caricatures - all good or all bad, victims or villains. The exception being Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave, the legengdary concierge of the legendary Grand Budapest Hotel, who plays his character as a mix of a fey rakish dandy and Hercule Poirot. He veers between a posh elegant accent and formal verbiage and jarringly contemporary louche pronouncements like “She was dynamite in the sack”. Willem Defoe as an arch-fiend (think Odd Job) is completely over the top. Saoirse Ronan as the pure and innocent Agatha is as winning as Tilda Swinton, the spoiled, uber rich, aging grand dame, Madame DeGoffe und Taxis is not. Adrien Brody as Dmitri, her smarmy, greedy, conniving heir is pure Boris Badenov (Rocky and Bullwinkle). There is a huge cast of well-known actors who portray their characters with finely-tuned tongue-in-cheek performances and eccentric accents.
   It is a madcap tale in the tradition of Irving Thalberg’s 1932 Grand Hotel, which won the Best Picture Academy Award that year. There is a murder, art theft, romance, military interventions, a jailbreak and a chase scene across snowy mountains which involves ski lifts and a toboggan. Told with sly humor and so much attention to detail on every level that it keeps one in a delighted state of awe at the endless creativity which has been brought to bear in the production. In short, it is a glossy confection which lives up to all of the d-words of Cole Porter.
Review by Belle McIntyre

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