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I Feel Lucky

By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2014 Revised 17th April 2014 Revised 2nd January 2015

Wes Anderson's comic ensemble cast live at the beginning of a decade that marked the height of style in an East Eurpoean resort hotel in Lutz, Zubrowka. It's not quite German, it's not quite Prussian, it's far enough from France for people to speak French wistfully and everyone is well read. Everyone loves a good poem. The elderly clientele love M. Gustave H.

Wes Anderson's "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL" (2014) shares something with Larry Charles' "BRUNO" (2009). Both key characters speak after a style and use expressions that are familiar. It's like coming across Isaac Asimov's "Satisfaction Guaranteed" in his book of short stories "The Rest of the Robots" (1964) and realising that you're gay friend was trying out lines on you all those years ago, "That part of a human mind is closed to me," "I can only act with in my limitations, you know," and here again we are entertained by lines as if we've heard them for the first time. "I don't know what cream they've put on you down at the morgue but I want some," and "I bless this union." There must be a book. The material is attributed to the writings of Stefan Zweig, late of Vienna.

Indeed our entertainment opens with a young and earnest woman out in the snow approaching a memorial to an Author (Tom Wilkinson) and her book, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

This is a story about people who live in service to The Grand Budapest Hotel, personified by their clientele. And through institutions like the Society of the Crossed Keys The Grand Budapest Hotel turns out to be an instance of type like an island of civilisation, where even in 1932 civilisation only exists as a faint glimmer.

At one point I did stop to ask myself if Anderson isn't saying these people are like mice as they scamper non-stop to the up-tempo mandolins or lutes. And like a society novel it may well have penetrated as deeply as Christopher Nolan's "INCEPTION" (2010) five layers of reality down like an onion, layers of people telling the story about people telling he story and ultimately writing it up. There's a touch of Brian De Palma's "SCAR FACE" (1983) in the final shoot out as we view the shot up interior of the Grand Budapest Hotel's 6th floor as if from Tony (Pacino)'s office door. A person describe and their name about to be announced cuts to their name plate on a door in silence, very Tarantino. I cannot begin to pretend I noticed every film reference throughout this production. Many of them seem random.

A perverse totalitarian regime takes over Zubrowski with a ridiculous fascist symbol fashioned on a lightning bolt and the characters swear about places that are made up name, Henckels (Ed Norton) commands troops to search places from Aldensberg to Zilchbrook. Indeed their world often feels like a diorama made of grey cardboard and painted over with red, white and pink.

As it turns out Wes Anderson's "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL" (2014) is a fun set of character studies played by notables and our audience loved the rush of excitement they felt when they recognised another star, playing a part, except for Tilda Simton. Who could recognise her? When Bill Murray manned the desk phone there was a palpable sway of recognition as the crowd took him in.

Anderson elicited a flawless performance from everyone, everyone who was perfectly costumed and groomed to suit. Costuming deserves an award. Ludwig (Harvey Keitel), Serge X. (Mathieu Amalric), Mr. Kovacks (Jeff Goldblum), Mr. Moustafa (an F. Murray Abraham (Omar Suarez in "SCARFACE") whom seems to still be emerging from the shadow of Salieri, Jopling (Willem Dafoe) a man who wears knuckle dusters as day-wear, a very urbane Young Writer (Jude Law), arch-nemesis Dmitri (Adrien Brody) and last but not least, Agatha (Saoirse Ronan),

our reason for believing this world has a future.

Ralph Finnes was thoroughly enjoyable in the lead role as M. Gustave H. He really hit the right note as the poor man who pleases many with fine attention to detail.

Wes Anderson delivered a delightful entertainment, an unabashedly ensemble performance, playing all the while. These aren't people with means who buy stylish things. They're civilised people who take a moments silence for the fallen when under threat of fire. They are assisted by Dominican monasteries on mountain peeks. They are considerate and polite and they, "get it." 8/10

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2014.

Wes Anderson's

Director Wes Anderson
Producers Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven M. Rales, Scott Rudin
Stars Saoirse Ronan (Agatha), Léa Seydoux (Clotilde), Ralph Fiennes (M. Gustave), Jude Law (Young Writer), Edward Norton (Henckels), Tilda Swinton (Madame D.), Bill Murray (M. Ivan), Adrien Brody (Dmitri), Owen Wilson (M. Chuck), Jason Schwartzman (M. Jean), Willem Dafoe (Jopling), Jeff Goldblum (Kovacs), F. Murray Abraham (Mr. Moustafa), Harvey Keitel (Ludwig), Tom Wilkinson (Author), Bob Balaban
Release Date 10th April 2014
Category Comedy War Drama
Running Time 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
Rating M
Origin USA, the fun part
Coda No.
Distributor 20th Century Fox
Official Text "" - 20th Century Fox PR
Film still from Wes Anderson's "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL" (2014).
Film still from Wes Anderson's "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL" (2014).
Film still from Wes Anderson's "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL" (2014).