‘Budapest Hotel’ Is Good, Not Grand

The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel_PosterIt isn’t too often that you can walk into a movie and know exactly what it is you’re in store for, however you know exactly what you’re getting with a Wes Anderson flick: there will be quick cuts, colorful backdrops and quirky characters. And his newest film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is nothing different.

The film stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who teams up with the hotel’s lobby boy to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum also star, with Anderson directing and writing the script.

What makes “Budapest” so much fun is how charming and unique all of its characters are. Ralph Fiennes does a marvelous job as the flamboyant concierge, winning over everyone that he crosses paths with and giving blunt and humorous responses to even the most obscure situations.

While all the members of the cast do a good job, perhaps the best comes from newcomer Tony Revolori, who plays the lobby boy and Fiennes’ right hand man. Revolori has great chemistry and banter with Fiennes, and has a special screen-presence about him.

The film features some great writing by Anderson, and when paired with Fiennes’ performance the film delivers several big laughs. However there are times where there will be something shocking or grim, and the film expects you to laugh at the incident, but all you do is sit there somewhat awkwardly, unsure if it would be socially acceptable to laugh or not. For example a man throws a cat out a window for comedic effect, but you aren’t sure how to react because the characters are giving off different vibes. This happened a couple times and it took me out of the movie for a minute.

The film’s other flaw is the plot isn’t always on a straight line. It starts off in a memory and then goes into two flashbacks more before actually beginning the main story, and then goes off on several tangents that feel unnecessary before finally reaching a climax. Many of these sidetracks were just excuses for Anderson to include his friends in the film, and while it was fun seeing various cameos, it made the film feel a bit longer than it actually is.

In the end, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a good movie, not a grand one. It features numerous fun performances, especially those of Fiennes and Revolori, as well as some clever dialogue and intriguing backdrops. If you’re a casual moviegoer then I say give the film a chance. Sure it has some awkward and abstract features, but when you get down to it, it is a unique and original film, and those are hard to come by nowadays.

Critics Rating: 7/10

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