run time: 100 mins
director: Wes Anderson
starring: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Tony Revolori
movie summary: The Grand Budapest Hotel is managed by the overly zealous concierge Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), who knows how to take care of the guests while secretly courting the richest ladies that stop by the grand hotel. His charming life is about to get turned upside down when his rich 80-year-old girlfriend, Madame D (Tilda Swinton) suddenly dies.
Before the great war of 1932, the Grand Budapest Hotel was one of the world’s fanciest hotels. Gustave H. had just hired a new bell boy named Zero (Tony Revolori) who he takes under his wing to personally train. Zero gets an up close look at the inner workings of the hotel while turning a blind eye to Gustave’s relationships with the guests, including a steamy love affair with Madame D. She is by far Gustave’s favorite girl despite the fact he sees a different girl every night.
A few weeks after her last visit Madame D is found dead. Gustave and Zero rush to her funeral to say goodbye one last time, then crash her last will and testament ceremony. Gustave surprisingly gets the most valuable procession she owns, an oil painting of “Boy with Apple.” Madame D’s son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) is furious about this and attacks Gustave who manages to escape the crowd with help from Zero. One their way out of the house, the pair look at the painting in the lobby before stealing it.
Gustave and Zero are now fugitives of the law so they return to the Grand Hotel to hide the painting. The authorities led by Henckels (Edward Norton) want to question Gustave because Madame D is dead, the painting is gone, and he’s the main suspect. He is arrested after a brief chase around the hotel and thrown into prison. Before Gustave is shipped off he makes Zero the heir to his position at the hotel and inheritance of Boy with Apple should he not survive prison. Zero is now obligated to recruit his girlfriend Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) to help bake cakes with weapons in them to help Gustave his cell mates escape from prison.
Dmitri has hired an assassin, Jopling (Willem Dafoe) to kill Gustave for revenge on his mother’s dead. Once he is out of prison, Gustave meets up with Zero and the pair flee to safety with the Jopling hot on their trail. When they reach the Grand Hotel again they find out that the military has converted into an army barracks. Agatha runs into the hotel to rescue Boy with Apple only to be caught by the new hotel concierge M. Jean (Jason Schwartzman) who calls the police to come arrest Gustave. A roaring gun battle ensues in the upper floors of the hotel which forces Gustave and Zero to protect Agatha because she has the painting. They refuse to surrender with bullets fly over their heads, while Agatha notices something strange about the back of the painting and tries to stop the fighting before it’s to late.
my thoughts: I went to the Grand Budapest Hotel the same night I saw Noah and will admit this was the better of the two movies that night, even though I had no real interest in seeing this one. The Grand Budapest is a specific genre piece that some people will love and other will scratch their heads at. If anyone has seen Moonrise Kingdom, this film features a majority of the same cast members, cinematography, and crazy storyline. There are a bunch of laugh out loud moments in the film, especially when someone drops the F bomb, but it’s really the characters and their actions that bring this movie to life.
Gustave and Zero are great partners in crime while Agatha plays the daring girlfriend of the young hero Zero. The supporting cast which features a bunch of all-star actors like Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, and Tom Wilkinson all add their personal touches to their characters which makes the story even better.
This movie would not be the first movie I recommend to someone, but I would recommend it if you have seen everything else or are looking for a break from the typical Hollywood blockbuster. People familiar with Wes Anderson’s work will marvel at what he is able to put together on the screen, those who are not may not like his style but can at least sit back and have a few laughs while his characters run around foolishly trying to solve a murder.
my star rating: 6 out 10
imdb.com: 8.4 out 10
rottentomatoes: 92% out 100%