By Darin Skaggs
A director is probably hired because they have some sort of talent. After a few films it is their job to figure out what kind of filmmaker they are. Wes Anderson is one of those filmmakers that started out not knowing exactly who he was at the beginning of his career and later came into his own style. With each film especially his last three films; Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and his newest The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has delved deeper and deeper into his own brain.
The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the tale of M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes, the owner of The Grand Budapest who is charged for stealing a painting that he was bequeathed from a will. The painting is named “Boy With Apple” and eventually Gustave is also charged for the murder of Madame D, the giver of the will. Gustave, along with his best lobby boy Zero, played by Tony Revolori, try to clear his name.
Anderson has always had a distinct style to him, which does turn people off, but others love his style. In this film he delves so far into his own brain that he almost creates a parody of himself. Anderson has always made motion pictures, moving pictures. In this film he basically makes a bunch of paintings surrounded by actors which is why the main focus of the film is a painting. Every single frame could be viewed as a beautiful painting with all the colors and patterns. More signature aspects that Anderson does throughout his career is centering the main idea of a scene in the frame. He does this so much so in this film that Anderson was probably driven crazy that it was not possible to get things in the center of the frame anymore. With all that the film is great. If you love the style of his previous films, you will adore this one. Anderson pulls out all the punches with cameos with old and new players including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, William Defoe, F. Murray Abraham and a ton more amazing actors. It is pretty much Wes Anderson playing his greatest hits montage with all his signature moves.
The film is also a great riot. You could tell Anderson was having fun while making this film. He has jokes like switching the “Boy with Apple” painting with a gross, crude painting. A scene of following clues that ends in disappointment and prison escape that makes no logical sense. He even makes fun of movies in general when the story gets interesting and the conflict is revealed Gustave says “The plot thickens, as they say” then debates if that saying is about soup. The film is full of funny, ridiculous moments that prove Anderson does not care about our reality anymore and cares more about the heighted one he has been slowly creating his whole career.
The film while being very funny and looking spectacular is about art. The McGuffin in the film is a painting which is described by many as one of the best paintings ever. When seen by Zero he gives a look of not quite getting its greatness but pretending he does. Throughout most of the film several characters are reciting poetry but never do finish a whole poem. This is Anderson saying he is never fully satisfied with the creations he makes and how other critics of art in general struggle with fully understanding it.
Wes Anderson has never been more like Wes Anderson with this film. It is one of the more fun times you can have at the movies and it is so pretty that you might not know what to do with all of the colors.