Here in Collab Land I feel as though we’re watching too many good films, and there’s just not enough to snark about lately. This is not a bad thing in the grand scheme of things but I miss ripping films to shreds while enjoying the shit out of them for the very reasons I’m being snarky in the first place.
Looking back on some of the utter drivel we’ve picked in the past only makes me crave more B-movie goodness so we’ll be exploring more of that very soon.
Also, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to announce this yet but Jillian and I will very soon be enjoying at least one film side by side on the same couch IRL. IRL dudes! I can’t hardly wait.
But to Wes Anderson’s masterpiece. Yeah, that’s right, motherfucking MASTERPIECE. I’m not very good at holding back on my view in the intros, am I? So sue me. I’ll review as normal below but I am madly in love with TGBH and it was worth the two year wait.
In case, like me, you’re well behind on the Wanderson hype (see what I did?), beware those *Spoilers*!
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Literally all other Wes Anderson alumni
IMDB Synopsis: The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
I don’t even know how this review will go down. The story is so typically Anderson, with lots of intricate twists and turns that I’ll be hard pressed to do justice. But I’ll try to pay adequate tribute to a film I think really is one of his best to date.
A young writer (Law) befriends the concierge at the now crumbling Grand Budapest Hotel. One day he notices one of the guests, a lonely looking man named Mr. Moustafa (Abraham) who turns out to be the owner of the establishment.
Curious, the writer strikes up a conversation with Moustafa, who willingly agrees to tell him the long, long story of the hotel and how he ended up owning it.
Over a dinner that gave me gout just thinking about it, Moustafa tells Jude Law the story of the original concierge, the dandy and overly perfumed M. Gustave (Fiennes) and his zany adventures with trainee lobby boy Zero (Revolori).
M. Gustave is something of a playboy who has a good thing going at the Budapest. This good thing is an innocent little Sugar Mummy racket, that works well for all parties concerned, frankly (maybe not the husbands). Things are ticking along nicely until the untimely passing (? She is well into her eighties) of Madame D (Tilda Swinton), who is smitten with Gustave.
Her death prompts a cross country trip by the two friends to pay their last respects at Madame D’s estate. Alas, dead rich people often encourage people out of the woodwork and when they arrive, it’s a full house.
Madame D’s lawyer Kovacs (Goldblum) is present to read out the last will and testament and as luck would have it, Madame D has bequeathed a valuable painting, Boy with Apple, to our nice smelling hero. This does not go down well with her children, particularly Dmitri and Jopling (Brody and Dafoe), who have murder on their minds in response.
While in residence at poor Madame D’s, Gustave shows Zero the painting in question and they decide to nick it (well, technically it is now G’s). With the help of butler Serge X (Mathieu Amalric) and a maid, they smuggle it out and return to the Budapest to hide it. On the way back, the men make a pact that if Zero helps Gustave, Gustave will make him his one and only heir (big clue).
Unfortunately, it’s not long until the fuzz come a-knocking, though surprisingly not for the painting. Turns out Madame D’s been knocked off and the number one suspect is Gustave (but of course). It doesn’t help that his initial instinct is to leg it and he winds up in clink.
The police think it’s Gustave because of a false testimony made by Serge X, who has mysteriously disappeared himself. Gustave quickly settles into prison life, charming even the trickiest of inmates and falls in with a hardened posse, led by Ludwig (Harvey Keitel).
Meanwhile, Zero is on the outside with his love Agatha (Ronan), who bakes for Mendls, a patisserie long loved by Gustave and the guests of the Budapest. The two become engaged almost immediately and Agatha is only too happy to assist a prison break by baking tools into little cakes.
I can’t go on telling you each and every thing that goes down but let’s just say the escape goes according to plan and our friends are reunited. Serge X also appears again and it becomes clear that Madame D had a second will (but what could that will say?).
The police are still on the case of Gustave but now also are Madame D’s sons and they aren’t afraid to kick some arse and take names (or fingers) to get their hands on their mother’s estate.
Will Madame D’s true intent ever be known? Where’s Serge X been and why did he lie about the night of MD’s death? Will the brothers win this one or will victory shine her light on Gustave and his heterosexual life partner Zero?
And finally, what became of the infamous concierge and lovely Agatha, and why aren’t they around in present day?
I just loved every minute, every performance and every cameo, no matter how tiny. It’s beautiful and funny; risqué in places, dark in others and I want to watch it all over again. Right now.
The chemistry between Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori is really lovely and the latter is excellent in this role. I love that one of the lead parts went to a virtually unknown actor, who carries the film effortlessly.
I’d really like to live in the Budapest Hotel too, it’s so kitsch it hurts.
My Rating: 5/5. Fucking perfection.