There is not a much better day than when the next Wes Anderson production rolls out into theaters. In each of his films, he creates a unique and ornate world that is all his own, and decorates it with overly-quirky, yet interesting characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is no different. In fact, it may be his best work since “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.”

 

(Related: Film Director Profile: Wes Anderson)

 

Set in the fictional country of Zobrowka, the film concerns the staff of the title establishment, particularly the concierge, Monsieur Gustave H., and the lobby boy, Zero Moustafa. Being a man of considerable talent, Gustave is popular with most of the hotel’s patrons, many of which are old, wealthy widows. When one of his favorite guests/benefactors is killed, Gustave is framed for murder, and it is up to him and Zero to prove his innocence. This comedy-adventure takes us across Anderson’s very fictionalized Europe, at the beginning of a conflict that closely resembles our second World War.

 

This is some of the most “out there” material Anderson has tackled, yet he directs it with the same style and charm that is present in his first seven films. The hotel itself is grand, indeed, and constantly beautiful. With its pinkish hue that seems to extend through the entirety of the expanse, it is lavishly decorated and meticulously constructed. Not a single detail is out of place, per the norm for an Anderson picture. Using three different aspect ratios for three different time periods, Anderson shows a mastery for framing that is matched by few of his peers.

 

His characters are some of the funniest and most entertaining in his filmography. A lot of that comes from Anderson’s script, but a lot of that also comes from the performances given by this impeccably talented cast. Anderson has worked with a lot of great leading men but maybe none better than Ralph Fiennes. In Gustave, he finds a character that is undeniably hilarious, but still entirely human and not without poignance. Just through subtle gestures and the delivery of lines by Fiennes, we truly find out who this character is and what he is about. Tony Revolori is also good as Zero, with this being by far the biggest role of his career.

 

There are several fun bit parts played by such talent as Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, and of course, Bill Murray, all giving impressive comedic performances in roles that would have fallen flat in the hands of lesser actors.

 

What is most impressive about “The Grand Budapest,” though, is that it even works at all. To think that Anderson’s style has been successful over such a wide array of subject matter is nothing short of astounding. You could accuse him of repeating himself in terms of how he tells his stories, and many have, but you could never accuse him of repeating himself in terms of what stories he is telling. From “Rushmore,” a high school comedy, to “The Life Aquatic,” a “Moby Dick”-style adventure, to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” now, a comedy/crime-caper, he has proven that he can take on just about any material and bring it to life with his singular brand of Andersonian magic.

 

It is important to note, however, that this writer is an established fan of everything that is Wes Anderson.  If you do not like his style, and there are many that feel that way, you are not going to like this movie, or anything else that he is going to make. If Anderson has proven anything, it is that he has a certain way of making movies that is not going to change anytime soon.

 

With that caveat out there, if you loved his other films, you are going to love this one, too. In terms of comedy and production design, this film is one of, if not the, best films Anderson had made. Though it may not have the emotional or narrative heft of the best of his work, “The Life Aquatic” and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” it is still a thoroughly enjoyable and sometimes brilliant piece of filmmaking. – 4/4

 

Have you seen “The Grand Budapest Hotel?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and find me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen.