'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is one of Wes Anderson's finest movie yet, if not his best.
You can never mistake a Wes Anderson movie: his colourful visual style and quirky wit infuse every frame of his movies, whether they're set underwater (The Life Aquatic), on an Indian railway (The Darjeeling Limited), in rural America (Moonrise Kingdom) or in a stop-motion countryside populated by furry critters (Fantastic Mr Fox).
The Grand Budapest Hotel Features a Stunning Comedy Performance from Ralph Fiennes
The Grand Budapest Hotel, his eighth feature, is set in a fictional Middle European country in the 1930s (it's his first period piece). But it clearly fits into Anderson's stylised universe with its vivid colours and mythical settings. It also reunites him with regular cast members such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban.
What's most apparent about his work is that he has a boundless imagination, pulling in references from literature, cinema, history, anything really. "When I'm making a film it helps to have a lot of ideas to flesh things out into a whole movie," he says, "so I don't just end up shooting a script."
For this film, Anderson and story collaborator Hugo Guinness were inspired by Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig and their own journey to visit grand old hotels in Hamburg and Vienna, as well as the international concierge guild, Society of the Golden Keys, in Prague. Anderson regularly travels for inspiration, including a rail trip across Rajasthan with cowriters Schwartzman and Roman Coppola for The Darjeeling Limited.
This extra effort has always made his films burst at the seams with wonderful details. But with The Grand Budapest Hotel, the comedy and adventure come together in a startlingly engaging mix that's his warmest, most consistently entertaining film yet. And it's impossible to guess what he'll do next.