The Magic of Wes Anderson

Monday, 2 June 2014

Flo in all her glory!
'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is Wes Anderson's latest masterpiece. It's a feast for the eyes and a really decent line-up of famous faces: Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Saiorse Ronan, and - yes, you guessed it - Bill Murray. 

I went to see the film on opening weekend with fellow Wes-worshipper and friend Flo. And I was not disappointed!

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' recounts the life and times of the hotel's concierge, Gustave H, in the fictional republic of Zubrowska. M. Gustave manages to be similtaneously camp and a casanova, while his lobby boy, Zero, is at once humourless and oozing charisma. The film is made a whole lot sweeter by Alexandre Desplat's predictably brilliant orchestral soundtrack.

It differs from Anderson's previous works in that it's the first and only to be set in Europe. This made a change in terms of both aesthetics and tone: the leafy suburbia of 'Rushmore' makes way for European-looking cobbled streets, while Anderson's characteristic dry, American humour is replaced by a laugh-out-loud near-British wit. 

Oh, and if you have yet to see Anderson's previous gem, go watch 'Moonrise Kingdom'. Now? Yup, right now. Get off that backside.

It brings to life the coming of age tale of Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop – two gloriously odd 12 year olds who fall in love and run away into New England’s wildernesses. With parents, a scout troop, and Bruce Willis’ depressive cop in hot pursuit, Sam and Suzy survive on their own by combining their still childlike imagination with an adult resourcefulness (“I forgot my comb but I’ll use my fingers”).

Sure, Anderson's films are something of an acquired taste, but shrugging them off as style over substance? That, I won't take. They're worlds of their own, inhabited by people similar to us but with deadpan delivery and superior taste in interior design. Ultimately, Wes Anderson's films have as much heart as you do.

I saw 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' at the lovely Gate Cinema in Notting Hill

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