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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

June 18, 2014

Wes Anderson has always been unparallelled and rightly heralded as a director who could create his own unique world practically out of scratch, one filled with remarkable and genuine characters who embark on a journey of imaginable circumstance; and its only fitting that as his style has developed over his later years that his largest ensemble and most globe-trotting production requires a whole country invented for his purposes. Yet, the country of Zubrowka doesn’t require much of a backstory as its history runs parallel to that of 1930s European war, its own fictional pieces of art and cultural standpoints pointed to the same lessons our own history points to, but more important to the same lessons the purpose of storytelling, both his own and of European literature, that we’ve heralded. Which makes the incredibly charming and zany madcap adventure within all the more worth its weight in praise.

Gently placed into a framing story of common people, authors, and even the eventual hero forever looking back to their life of adventure from a place of domestication, the madcap adventures of the diligent young Zero and his mentor, Monsieur Gustav, effortlessly achieves a context of the power of brave, creative, and genuine heroes to overcome a whole world crumbling in on itself. The leads are hysterically sincere and polite in their increasingly rude settings, and yet that only makes them the more admirable as they fight for their justice. They are then supported by as colorful as cast as any other Anderson ensemble, blending ethnicity and demeanor to dizzying degrees.

But what makes Budapest recognizable as a large step for the director is that when paired against his previous two films, Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox, we see the influence his childhood obsessions of books and adventures has as his productions resemble that of the largest toy set life could offer. Various moments of madcap action play out over impeccable worlds, and are given enamored dedication by the cast and our attention. In the sense of its weight on our common history, Budapest Hotel is indeed Anderson’s largest, heaviest story, one that could’ve well fit those hardbound primary-colored books his characters tote, and its to his beautifully auteur mind that it never needed those volumes of words to impact our souls as it does.

From → New Watch

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