Direction: Wes Anderson
Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori
Inspired by the melodramas of Austrian-Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig, The Grand Budapest Hotel features many of the visual motifs familiar from the previous films (The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom) of hipster auteur Wes Anderson: colourfully adorned sets, striking compositions and, of course, elegant tracking shots.
One such shot follows a young woman to a cemetery during the opening sequence. She reverently hangs a hotel room key on a headstone labeled ‘Author’ before proceeding to read from the unnamed writer’s memoir.
A seamless transition transports us from the present-day back to 1985 to meet the ageing author (Tom Wilkinson) and in a further flashback to 1968 when as a young man (now played by Jude Law) he is told the fascinating history of the titular hotel.
A comic caper tinged with melancholy, Anderson’s eighth feature is mostly set in a fictional East European republic during the early 1930s. The spectre of fascism as well as of communist privation looms over the continent. Utilizing an intricate story-within-a-story structure, the script recounts the misadventures of the hotel’s concierge (Fiennes) and his devoted protégé/lobby boy (Revolori). In the leads, both Ralph Fiennes and newcomer Tony Revolori deliver sparkling comedic turns.