This one has been on my “movies to watch” list for quite some time now (it seems like the list will never reach its end) but I finally got around to seeing it a few weeks ago, and I am glad that I finally did. This 2014 film by Wes Anderson is a playful piece that dances between the generes of action, comedy, and – sometimes – mystery. And despite its playful aesthetic, which is partly created by the use of model sets, and comedic elements, there are certain underlying aspects of the World Wars, and the Soviet Era that followed.
The film centers on the adventures of M. Gustave and Zero – the concierge and lobby boy – at The Grand Budapest Hotel in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. This hotel is lavish, and represents a high standard of excellence. Between the two world wars, M. Gustave clings to the ways of the past despite the inevitable changes that are fast approaching. Zero recounts their story to an unnamed author decades later. By now, the hotel is a mere shadow of its former self, seemingly the result of the nation being absorbed by the Soviet Bloc.
Though the story is a bit outlandish and hard to buy into at times, the fast pacing and absolutely beautiful cinematography of The Grand Budapest hotel make it an absolute joy to watch. This is a great example of the incredible effects that can be achieved by meticulously controlling and choosing each and every element that appears on screen.