It’s Worth a Trip to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

 In a sea of dramas and biopics this Oscar season, one film stands out so obviously that it cannot be missed. The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed by Wes Anderson and starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, and many more, is truly a comedy, drama, mystery, and thriller wrapped in one package. But despite what sounds like a wild tone, The Grand Budapest Hotel is completely entertaining and incredibly fun to watch.

The film follows a myriad of characters and timelines, but our main protagonist is Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the new lobby boy at the extravagant Grand Budapest Hotel. As he learns the ropes, he forms a bond with his eccentric mentor and famed concierge of the hotel, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes). When wealthy guest Madame D (Tilda Swinton) is murdered, not only is Gustave accused of the crime, but he also has to face the wrath of Madame D’s greedy family after she bequeaths her fortune to him.

The entire plot of The Grand Budapest Hotel can be seen as a typical caper, but the many twists and turns make it seem fresh and original. And make no mistake, despite a seemingly simple story, the film is undeniably strange, almost to the point of fantasy, much like many of Anderson’s previous films like Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Anderson’s quirky nature is what makes a movie like this stand out without becoming cheesy or silly. The director’s typical fast paced action and dialogue also keep the film from becoming boring.

The characters and actors of The Grand Budapest Hotel are the main draw in this film. Newcomer Revolori is charming as Zero, and he really holds his own in a cast of mainly A-list actors. His chemistry with Fiennes is also spot on, making the friendship that blooms between Zero and Gustave H very believable and heartfelt. Fiennes, in a role unlike any of his others, is hilarious and over the top as Gustave H. Despite Gustave being a standoffish character, Fiennes has the ability to make the audience root for him.

Another great performance comes from Saoirse Ronan as Zero’s reliable and clever girlfriend, Agatha. Ronan is not only tough and brave as Agatha, but also sweet and caring all in one. Finally, actors like Adrien Brody, as Madame D’s vindictive son Dmitri, Willem Dafoe, as the family bodyguard Jopling, and Edward Norton, as a police chief trying to hunt the murderer down, add even more variety to the eclectic cast of characters.

While many films leave the audience just thinking about the story and characters afterward, it’s hard to forget about the visuals of The Grand Budapest Hotel, even after it is long over. Cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman brings the lush, vibrant Grand Budapest Hotel to life on screen. Every shot is perfectly crafted, and the scenery is beautiful in every setting. Anderson also has an obvious affinity for symmetry, which is amusing to see throughout the film.

The 2015 Oscar competition is definitely a stiff one, but the film was able rack up an impressive nine nominations and become one of the most nominated films this year. Whether The Grand Budapest Hotel goes home with any trophies on Feb. 22, it is an excellent, incredibly fun film that should absolutely not be missed by anyone.

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