The Grand Budapest Hotel (Dir. Wes Anderson/2014)
Director Wes Anderson has a unique charm. A clean, symmetrical composition is expected when viewing his work. Whether it’s the impeccably aligned farmhouses opposite Fantastic Mr Fox, or the arrangement of a tent in Moonrise Kingdom, you know his orchestrated style. Satisfyingly, The Grand Budapest Hotel is the perfect, inevitable consequence of his filmmaking to date. The story is set within a book, of a memoir, of a memory that is broken into five memorable tales. This Russian-doll context establishes a playful understanding of art from the outset. It hints at how an exciting endeavour will last forever. And The Grand Budapest Hotel showcases a fascinating adventure from a broad range of distinctive characters. Romance, capers and a cast that could rival the star-power of a Marvel studio flick, this is the Greatest Hits of Wes Anderson in a single film. The scale of the hotel is emphasized by puzzling zoom-outs, while each caricature speaks directly and to-the-point. Ralph Fiennes, as Monsieur Gustave, steals every scene he’s in. Whether he’s making sure an elderly woman (an unrecognisable Tilda Swinton) is “comfortable”, or explaining the role of a lobby boy, he is witty on an illogical scale. Considering the engaging Zero (Tony Revolori) is his straight-guy side-kick, it is of no surprise that his warm, gormless face attracts the equally-stunted Agatha (Saorise Ronan). Not a single moment is wasted as The Grand Budapest Hotel ensures that pure joy and a love of artistry is central to its story. An outstanding achievement.