A writer (Jude Law) staying at the Grand Budapest Hotel sees an elderly man in the lobby. The man is Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), the owner of the hotel. Over dinner, Moustafa tells the writer how he came into possession of the hotel and why, despite its fading prestige and prosperity, he keeps it open.
The tale starts with Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), who was the head concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel between World War I and World War II. He was arguably the finest concierge that had ever been. Gustave takes a young Zero (Tony Revolori) under his wing as a lobby boy, hoping to mold him into a proper concierge some day.
Gustave and Zero at first share a mentor/mentee relationship that develops into a friendship. Zero becomes Gustave’s loyal sidekick, of sorts. And Gustave becomes almost a father-figure to Zero.
When one of Gustave’s regular guests and consorts dies, he goes to pay his respects. As the circumstances of her death and details of her will come to light, Gustave finds himself in a bit of trouble with the deceased’s family and the law.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is unique in both its story and the way it is visually presented. It is told in the way only Wes Anderson could tell it.
Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori have great chemistry on-screen. Tony is the perfect “straight man” to Ralph’s over-the-top character. Both are excellent in the film. The A-list stars are too numerous to mention and nicely balance the film. Of course, the rest of the cast is filled with regular cohorts of Anderson, including Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.
There aren’t many movies that compare to The Grand Budapest Hotel visually. It is filled with brightly colored scenes, giving it almost a cartoonish feel. The action is fast paced, but not so much as to drown out the story. From a strictly graphic angle, it is one of the more entertaining movies I’ve seen. It sets the perfect background for the story.
The comedy in the movie is equally fast paced. Full of sharp wit, it keeps things at a more intelligent level than many movies today. It is refreshing to watch sophisticated humor well done.
A marvelously told story that makes the relatively short hour and a half movie go by quickly, almost making you wish it would keep going. It has definitely earned its nomination for Best Picture.