The Grand Budapest Hotel


(out of 5)

Wes Anderson turns to the inspiration of Stefan Zweig for a glimpse of old-world European daintiness filtered through his own precious imagination.  Author  visits a faded grand hotel in a fictional nation (located somewhere near The Lady Vanishes) in the late sixties and asks the establishment’s owner () to narrate the tale of how the building came into his possession.  From there Abraham flashes back to the early 1930s, with  the lively and mercurial concierge caught up in murderous intrigue when one of the aged matrons he services in multiple ways ( in octogenarian drag) dies and leaves him a priceless painting in her will.  Fiennes is unjustly incarcerated for murder before busting out and finding himself and his plucky protégé () travelling across Alpine Europe with Gormenghastish relatives of the deceased (led by ) on their tail, while young Revolori develops a romance with a pastry chef () that comes in handy when looking to save his friend and boss from his conundrum.  True to Anderson’s form, the strongest chords struck between characters are the forged paternal ties between a mentor and his charge, but the auteur seems to have left behind the resonance of his earlier films in favour of stylized imagery and precise visual construction.  Gone are the pangs of confused adolescence, the struggle to establish one’s place in the world that hung over the school days of Rushmore or the family angst of The Royal Tenenbaums: here the style is the substance, and this hotel’s brightly painted walls are frequently tinged with dark brushstrokes (cold-blooded murder and the reality of a war-torn world fracturing) and darkly humorous ones (a concierge who loves getting blown by women over eighty), but not splattered with the emotionally convoluted drama of Darjeeling brothers trying to find their lost ties.  What Anderson improves on from his muddled and shallow Moonrise Kingdom, however, is a precisely mapped out plot that moves at a zippy and spritely pace, humorous wit that really is outlandishly funny, and the use of a giant cast of familiar faces whose contributions amount to far more than just cameos (with the surprising exception of  who manages, in only three scenes as an army captain, to somehow come off a complete amateur).

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USA/Germany, 2014

Directed by 

Story by Wes Anderson, , Screenplay by Wes Anderson, inspired by the works of 

Cinematography by 

Produced by Wes Anderson, , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

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Academy Awards:  2014

Golden Globe Award
Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy

Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy (Ralph Fiennes)
Best Director (Wes Anderson)
Best Screenplay-Motion Picture

New York Film Critics Award
Best Screenplay (Wes Anderson)

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards
Best Screenplay (Wes Anderson)
Best Production Design (Adam Stockhausen)

Best Film
Best Director (Wes Anderson)
Best Editing (Barney Pilling)

National Society of Film Critics Award
Best Screenplay (Wes Anderson)

Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes)

Berlin Film Festival Award
Grand Jury Prize

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Writers Guild Award
Best Original Screenplay

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film (Wes Anderson)

British Academy Awards
Best Original Screenplay
Best Costume Design
Best Original Music
Best Make Up & Hair
Best Production Design

Best Film
Best Leading Actor (Ralph Fiennes)
Best Cinematography
Best Sound
Best Editing
David Lean Award for Direction (Wes Anderson)

Cesar Award Nomination
Best Foreign Film

Toronto Film Critics Award
Best Screenplay

Best Picture
Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes)
Best Director (Wes Anderson)

Chicago Film Critics Awards
Best Art Direction/Production Design
Best Cinematography (tie)
Best Original Screenplay

Best Picture
Best Director (Wes Anderson)
Best Editing
Best Original Score
Most Promising Performer (Tony Revolori)



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