Sunday, April 20, 2014



Review By:
G.P. Manalo

Directed By:
Wes Anderson

Ralph Fiennes | Tony Revolori | Adrian Brody |
    Saorise Ronan | Willem Dafoe | Jude Law | F. Murray Abraham |
Edward Norton | Jeff Goldblum | Tilda Swinton |

After seeing the latest Wes Anderson film, I left the theater telling myself “is it too early to name my #1 movie of the year?” and I meanwhile answered “perhaps so”. It’s that great. The film is not surprisingly, charming, fast-paced, and at the same time a very nostalgic feel to it as it is very much as most people would describe as a love letter to vintage cinema.

The Grand Budapest Hotel opens with a young writer in a more obsolete version of the hotel in the 60s, he met a mysterious man who happens to be the owner of the hotel. As the mysterious man invited the young writer to dinner he narrates his own misadventures as a newly hired lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) as he became closely acquainted with an eccentric concierge, M. Gustave H who runs the famous and luxurious Grand Budapest Hotel in the brink of war in the early 40s. The film centers on a battle between him and the son of a wealthy family, for a large amount of their family fortune and a theft of a famous and treasured painting.

I know I wrote the plot summary as one would call it as “half-assed”, but whatever, I don’t want to spoil the film for you. But quite simply by that plot, one can guess the plot of the film already. Well you’re wrong, there are more surprises stored for you and there’s a lot to behold in this film; unless, you didn’t watch any of the trailers (I did my best to avoid the trailers). There is a perfectly good reason why I never do, and it is because that every Wes Anderson film deserves a blind watch, and I was truly beyond satisfied after watching this film.

To best describe this film, it is that you truly feel the spirit of Wes Anderson; It is Wes Anderson-y as one critic from ScreenRant described it to be. Wes Anderson is one of those directors who can literally breathe life to anything he tackles; Not a lot of directors makes films like Wes Anderson these days (or maybe I haven’t seen enough films in my almost 18-year stay here in this world). But the average joe won’t really learn to appreciate this film since he/she is used to the everyday blockbuster, Anderson’s films have certain themes that most of the times aren’t really spoon-fed on the spot of each scene, most of the things in this film could fly around one’s head.

The film felt like a rather grand play, Wes Anderson films always have great attention to details both big and small through his sets that it gives the audience a chance to be part of the world, but also let certain details make these characters and serve a good part of the grand scheme of the film. The camera seem to never escape one character at some point and expect a lot of still shots in this film; Then again, Wes Anderson films always have that nostalgic feel to it. When I watched the film I do notice something, the scenes in the 60s and 80s time period have these wide shots that we mostly see these days, but when we go to the 30s-40s era of the film the film was in a 4 x 3 screen again that’s Wes Anderson’s style taking over the movie, it makes you feel like this movie was made in that era.

The story of the film is highly fictionalized, the majority of the film takes place in the brink of war but it doesn’t address the problems of the world outside the aristocratic (yet bohemian) Europe the film takes place in. It does not address the fall of aristocracy and the rise of fascism in the European state this film takes place in nor does it address the rise of the war, certain characters just seem to stumble upon those for a short period of time throughout the film. For starters, the sub-plot of Zero being an immigrant takes center stage for a couple of times through whips of narration but didn’t really take over the film all throughout and there was a hint of Nazism in the movie, but again it didn’t really address that, it .his film its own, and as its own it is a very entertaining yet intense caper.

A caper that dances wistfully from one scene to the next, the film is so intense I was as one should say I was “An der Kante meines Sitzes” which is German for “at the edge of my seat” (as quoted by Jude Law’s character in this film). I would say the same thing about this movie to what I said about Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it is that this is one of those films where it is a smorgasbord (I know I should stop with the food references but I’m always hungry whenever I write these reviews) of great ideas that are altogether placed flawlessly, but with a dash of panache and finesse by the style of Wes Anderson. The film is a comedy, and it is a hilarious one; if you are familiar with Anderson’s work the film relies on deadpanning and basic visual gags than most comedies these days with the trend of “shock humor”. But there are also some action scenes that use practical effects to tell action scenes such as one scene in particular is a high speed ski chase that regards miniature people and a very intense chase in a museum with only two characters. In many of the scenes of the film there is a lot of emotional intrigue throughout these scenes and the museum scene is the best example of a scene where the film makes you feel like you don’t know where you are going, and it keeps wondering if will it take you to a good place or not and you’d be surprise on how it would end. For once it will be a comedy, then a thriller, a cute romance for a little while, and it would end with a very heartfelt note, it’s an impressively well put together smorgasbord indeed.

If you saw the poster for this film you notice that this film has a huge cast of talented people who are both fresh faces and alumnus of Wes Anderson’s past works and he always work with a big cast. Ralph Fiennes is the definite lead in this movie, and in my humble opinion this is his best role yet.  He steals the scene whenever he enters it and fuels energy in each scene when his eccentric personality plays a part of the story, and everything that comes out of his mouth is almost comedy gold. And on the other hand newcomer, Tony Revolori holds up very well for his first time acting job with big names and he does share very good chemistry with other characters such as Fiennes and a cute romance with Saorise Ronan. Like I said I can’t really go specifically with each and every character in this film since this is a very big cast to start with, but everybody were brilliant in the film and there wasn’t one weak link in this movie even if they have little screen time such as Bill Murray, Adrian Brody, F. Murray Abraham, and Edward Norton to name a few that were great to see on screen and to name a couple who did stand out to me were Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum.

In the end, The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the best films of the year and arguably Anderson's best film. Wes Anderson is one of the rare directors who breathe life to everything he does and put different ideas together to make an original piece in the long run. The film is entertaining as it is hyperactively charming, witty, intense and heartfelt as it is packed with flawless performances. I can’t highly recommend this to the blockbuster loving people and local cinema shit eating people mostly because it is too Wes Anderson-y, I can only recommend this to the everyday cinephile and people who are familiar with his works, but if you are an average blockbuster people who wants to jump in to this I suggest you see a couple of his works like the previous Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums for you to under the style of this film. This has a limited release in Ayala Mall Cinemas so I suggest you get your ass up and see this film immediately.


5/5 – EPIC WIN! 

No comments:

Post a Comment