The Grand Budapest Hotel
What is the goal of a hotel? Some might say it is to make you feel at home. Some may say that it is supposed to be a place of convenience where our vacations are easier. I think that the goal of every hotel, grand or motel, is give something that guests can’t have in their ordinary lives; a sense of royal treatment. It’s unlikely anyone reading this is a grand princess from a European nation or something. But when we stay at a Marriot, were not going to stay in one of their rooms, we are given the key to our room where for the next couple of days, we are to be serviced as much as possible.
You could say that because were already paying the hotel, were going to receive special treatment anyway. But even if we only throw fifty-five dollars for a room on the side of a highway, were still given the privilege of having a room to ourselves with our own cook, cleaner, and someone at the front desk to answer our questions. We don’t go on vacation for the room; we go for service and for people to wait on you for every move. The chronicles of a most interesting hotel butler and his student are captured by Wes Anderson in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
This is a story within several layers. It starts in the present with a girl reading a book, when it cuts to the author (played by Tom Wilkinson) telling the audience his inspiration for his stories, which cuts again to the author as a young man (played by Jude Law) speaking with the current owner of the failing Grand Budapest Hotel, Zero Moustafa (played by F. Murray Abraham). Despite the hotel falling a part in the movie’s fictional nation of Zubrowka, Zero can’t let the place die. When asked by the author, Zero then starts to tell his days as a young man when he started working.
The owner’s story starts in 1932, where Zero is a quiet Lobby Boy working at the Grand Budapest that’s about to be stuck in the middle of a war in Zubrowka. This does not bother the devoted concierge, Gustave (played by Ralph Fiennes) who takes pleasure in serving the richest guests, including Madame D (played by Tilda Swinton). She’s murdered one night and Gustave and Zero travel to the funeral, where the concierge finds that he’s inherited a priceless painting. This pisses off the rest of Madame D’s family; so many of them are sought on revenge. To make things worse, Gustave is accused of murdering Madame D.
This may seem like a lot of story for a mystery, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is actually a very intriguing movie. Though the story is a good story, it’s not the big focus. It’s intentionally structured in an uneven manner going from Hotel study to art to communist war to a who did it mystery. Like a lot of other Wes Anderson movies, the overall style is the best part.
This director is one of the few in Hollywood who have a distinguishable look for their movies. The Grand Budapest Hotel is just beautiful from it’s old-fashioned sets, models, and even ratio. It’s hard to describe why I like it in writing, but it’s very lovely. The writing may be odd, but it still got plenty of laughs out of me. We have the actors to thank who all fit their parts well (including other parts from Edward Norton, Bill Maury, and Jeff Goldblum), never playing themselves. It’s a grand trip from check in to check out. It’s a visit that people will want to make over and over.
I’ll give this five lobby boy hats out of five. The Grand Budapest Hotel is keeping a good place on the top ten box office hits, and I’m glad. This deserves to be a hit.