My first admission is that I have never seen a Wes Anderson film. Not a one. No "Rushmore", no "Royal Tenenbaums", not a one. The previews always seemed a tad too something to me, I could never put my finger on it.
After watching 2014's THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, I am kicking myself! What was I thinking!?
Writer/Director Wes Anderson has created a world you've never seen, a hotel chocked with eccentric, interesting and funny characters that will leave you laughing and intrigued.
Ralph Fiennes shows unexpectedly perfect timing as the hotel's concierge Gustave H, a man with his hand on every rich countess and every moving part of the greatest hotel in Anderson's make believe town of Zubrowka.
When Gustave meets new Lobby Boy Zero (played by newcomer Tony Revolori in a quietly terrific performance, the nearly silent center of all the action) he finds a loyal ally that will be at his side through any trouble.
The less you know about Gustave and Zero's nonstop, madcap adventures the better. In under two hours, they will interact with eclectic guests, soldiers, relatives and staff played by the likes of Bill Murray, Harvey Kietel, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson & Tom Wilkinson.
Edward Norton's police captain, Jeff Goldblum's attorney, Willem Dafoe's hitman and F. Murray Abraham's portrayal of the hotel's owner are standouts in this amazing cast.
Budapest moves at a breakneck speed, weaving fast and clever dialogue and an ever moving camera to build a really enjoyable two hour adventure.
At the center of it all is Fiennes in one of the funniest performances of the year. Watch for the scene on the train when he begins to share a life lesson with Zero after a violent altercation with soldiers. Two thirds of the way through his speechifying, he just quits mid sentence and throws away a profane two-word ending to his lesson that left me laughing. It's that combination of terrific, smart and witty writing and a pitch perfect performance that you don't find too often at the movies.
The best part of discovering Wes Anderson now is that I have his whole canon of films to go back and enjoy. If they are anywhere near this good, I'm in for some great films.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely worth a visit! If you're like me, you wont want to check out. Clever, fast and fun, it gets an A.