Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Blu Ray Review

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent

Where do you start with Wes Anderson's latest?

The cast-list alone requires an entry page, but the latest from Mr Anderson is both wildly eclectic and yet also wildly - and broadly - accessible.

It's the story of notorious hotel concierge M Gustave (a brilliant comic turn from a wonderfully precise Ralph Fiennes), who during the wars is accused of murder and theft and is forced to go on the run with the hotel Lobby Boy, Zero (Revolori).

As Gustave tries to clear his name, he forms a deep friendship with Zero, but the pair of them find themselves more embroiled in a raging battle for a family fortune than they could ever have expected. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a flight of lunatic fantasy, stuffed full with whimsy and humour - as well as  anyone who's ever been in an Anderson flick.

But the major plaudits have to go to Fiennes, for a turn that's totally brilliant, deeply unsettling and riotously funny. His Gustave is prone to keeping the majority of his emotions in check, most of the time, then exploding at wildly inopportune moments; it's his comic timing that's impeccable and in some ways, a revelation given how he usually plays straighter roles. Revolori makes an excellent foil too, largely looking bemused or lost as the clandestine intentions of others play out around them; both a pair of swirling fish in a giant whirlpool whipped up around them.

Full of quirk, whimsy and utter lunacy, The Grand Budapest Hotel borders on farce, but delivers nothing but sheer fun, even if the narrative teeters dangerously thin in places as the caper unfolds. It's comical, and yet curiously close to a comic in places, with lashings of Fantastic Mr Fox style animation, this story-within-a-story-within-a-story motif works very well as Anderson's typical MO and also as a showcase of what he's capable of. It's also meticulously put together - with shots being framed perfectly and the aspect ratio of the film changing, depending on which flashback you're in and when. Visually and aesthetically, it's an utter treat, a cinematic smorgasbord of directorial love.

Packed full of stars (all of whom appear to have worked with Anderson before), the film is perhaps one of his broadest yet; witty and verbose, yet never knowingly snooty, or overly whimsical and able to take a moment to celebrate the absurdity of it all. It's a director at their most playful, yet a director who's expanding the look and feel of some of his prior movies to their logical conclusion and widening his viewpoint to include others.

Anchored by two great lead performances, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comic caper to invest your heart and soul in - and a film to sit back and revel in the sheer frivolity of what transpires on the screen. It's a hotel that's definitely worth checking into.


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