Wes Anderson’s (‘The Darjeeling Limited’ 07, ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ 09, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ 12) latest sees the return of the auteur’s signature style both behind the camera and within the screenplay, with another ensemble piece featuring Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori in the central roles and a raft of familiar faces in support – Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, to name but a few.
Fiennes plays Monsieur Gustave, the concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel, which is a lavishly decorated and suitably grandiose primary set, looking like a camp version of the hotel in ‘The Shining’ (80), where he develops a close friendship with his young lobby boy, played by Revolori. The fictional region of Zubrowka they are in descends into civil unrest just as Gustave is set to inherit a priceless painting from one of the old birds he had been shagging in the hotel, who has just been murdered, which the rest of the lady in question’s extended family are violently unhappy about.
I’m a fan of Anderson’s work in general, but here the story tails away once the main characters are separated for an extended period of time, sucking the heart out of it. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ had at its centre a wonderful story of two youngsters falling in love with each other, with all of Anderson’s usual inanity frolicking around them courtesy of the adults – here the inanity is much more centre stage with a weaker core dynamic, the comedy aspect of Gustave’s posh vulgarity works initially but then becomes a little too obvious (Fiennes did something similar but to much greater effect in ‘In Bruges’ 08) and what begins as something quite interesting, soon ends up as incredibly boring to sit through.