Wes Anderson’s signature style flourishes in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” That is a polite and complimentary way of saying “This movie is very odd.” The ensemble cast alone is reason to watch (since everybody is bound to have a favorite on the list), but the way that each actor is utilized makes it even better. The list includes Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray, and that’s less than half of the list! From F. Murray’s sophistication to Willem Dafoe’s cold-blooded intensity, you never know what type of character the next star will play. My only complaint about the film is that I wish I could spend more time with each character. The Russian Matryoshka Doll introduction of the story that quickly transports us from the present to 1985 to 1968 to 1932 seems a bit unnecessary but sets the tone for the entire film. Anderson’s lighthearted approach to serious situations like death, prison, and war make for a viewing experience that I can only describe as “awkwardly enjoyable.” It is amazing how much actually happens in the 100-minute runtime as characters fly in for a short chapter and then disappear for the rest. I believe that this film will see some Oscar nominations, particularly for its screenplay and acting. I wouldn’t consider it to be one of the best films that I’ve seen, but the unique style makes me anxious to revisit “The Grand Budapest Hotel” soon.
[Pictured: Wes Anderson's signature head-on shot. Can't get enough!]