A cooler blend of culture

The Grand Budapest Hotel: check in to a madcap cinematic experience

Wes Anderson is renowned for creating super-surreal films – the kind that most of us wouldn’t even dream of.

From ‘Rushmore’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ to ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and ‘The Darjeeling Limited’, the director peppers his films with the most colourful of characters – most of them somewhat short of the full quid.

His latest offering, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is no exception. That said, it’s an exceptional movie! From the very first frame to the very last, this is a non-stop comedic drama that will have you on the edge of your seat with suspense if not see you rolling in the aisles with laughter. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say this is Wes’ best film yet; it had me that hooked.

The film follows the adventures and mishaps of a guy called Gustave H (played to perfection by Ralph Fiennes). Gustave is a legendary concierge at a famous (albeit totally made-up) European establishment called The Budapest Hotel.

While the guy looks like he sincerely loves his job – pandering to the rich and famous, some suspect that he is really after his guests’ riches, given that most of the ones he favours are very, very old.

The story is actually told by Gustave’s protégé, a lobby boy named Zero – and it is told mostly in retrospect since Zero himself is now older and owns the grand hotel.

As can be expected from any Wes Anderson film, the cast is utterly star-studded. How’s this for an impressive role call? Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson – with many of these actors having been seen in previous Anderson films.

The thing is, though, in this particular movie, most of the actors are so well made up into fantastical characters that you hardly recognise them at first. We won’t spoil the fun, suffice to say that you will enjoy playing ‘Guess Who’ while watching this flick.

Another thing you’ll get a kick out of is the mis-en-scene (that’s French for sticking-stuff-into-each-scene-so-that-it-looks-genuine). Where some directors gratuitously decorate much of their sets, Wes – whose work is often critiqued as being heavily stylised – hasn’t put anything into this picture that does not belong. Every bauble, every trinket, every book and bell, every mountain and every molehill, even the most minute detail as a vintage pinup poster, is positioned just so for good reason.

In sum, this film is the perfect example of what cinema ought to be: a form of escapism via a fascinatingly convoluted plot that keeps audiences on their toes, but doesn’t stretch tooooo far to do our heads in.



To celebrate the grand release that is ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, Luna Cinemas Leederville is hosting three special opening nights on April 10, 11 and 12. The cinema will be transformed into the Grand Budapest Hotel with patrons literally ‘checking in’. The cinema’s lobby and interior will be decked out with some very ‘Wes’ touches, while the building’s outside walls will have spectacular projections imagery thrown onto them. It truly will be a magical night out. For ticketing information, visit www.lunapalace.com.au.

Click on the poster art below to view the film’s trailer.



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