So who’s ready for another bad review? Yes, you are? Good, because here we go!
I’ll start off by saying I’m rather impartial to Wes Anderson films. I’ve only watched a few and I fully appreciate how well put together his films are, though I tend to never mind myself immersed in the world or fully engrossed in the story. And this is the same experience I’ve had with The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The storyline is quite interesting, albeit a bit random. It’s jam-packed with so much from murder to war to painting stealing to reading a book to conversations to love to a family fight over a will to some scenes which explain some sexual adventures. It’s a plot that suits the story world – dramatic and very busy. Yet it all works well together, and there’s so much thought that’s gone behind it all. There’s also underlying themes of loss and important historical events in the movie. It gives a real sense of nostalgia, but this all tends to be overshadowed by the grandiosity of the settings.
I did like the plot and how well it all tied in together. However, personally I didn’t really like the fact that we’re ‘reading’ the book with the girl as the narrator of the novel is retelling the time he was listening to Zero tell his story. I feel like there might be something I’m missing here, but it all seemed a bit unnecessary really… Like I said everything is pretty overshadowed by the theatrics and the style, and although a few good points might have been brought up at the start and end of the movie it just didn’t have that much impact on me as an audience. I would have preferred it if it was the narrator just retelling the story of when he met Zero, instead of adding in the girl who doesn’t add anything to it for me. I honestly forgot she existed after the start of the film and was momentarily confused when she showed up again at the end. It’s not a big thing, but I do wonder why Anderson in such a well thought out movie from every little detail of every camera shot, angle, costume and prop that fits together to create a grand and overdramatic world would keep her in. I do usually enjoy having layers to a film like The Grand Budapest Hotel and appreciate that we get a more nostalgic feel this way by watching through a reader, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was unnecessary.
We’re too far removed from the story world for my liking, and this is the reason I guess why films like this just never really click with me. Nothing is evoked from me as an audience member. I sit and watch, I appreciate… I don’t get attached to characters or invested in anything that’s going on. I’m more focused on what’s going to happen next because there’s just so much on screen. Though I feel like this separation from the audience has been done purposefully, kind of obviously. Since I’m too distracted by all the bright colours and sets to truly focus on the characters even if they are likeable and the performance by the actors were really wonderful and everything was so, so well polished and in sync. Especially all the walking! I was in awe every time the characters walked anywhere or went up the stairs.
The real stand-out thing about this film though, is how well put together it is. Anderson had an aesthetic vision, and he nailed it. Everything in this movie is theatrical – it’s not meant to be realistic – and that’s obvious in the storyline, story world and the acting. Colours have been utilised well, everything is well framed and cinematography wise this film is amazing. There’s good variation between things like shots to keep it from being repetitive, gags are well set up and there’s that distinction between different settings and times to help us as an audience keep track of where we are in the story.
This film is visually stunning. It’s a good film for appreciating how well thought out and executed everything is from the acting to settings to the storyline. However it’s not a winner for me. There’s so many wonderful parts of the movie, but everything is just overshadowed by how theatrical it all is. And that may be the intention of the film, and that intention has been beyond met, but this style falls under the category of ‘I’ll watch this movie once and once is enough’ for me.