Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

When I first saw the trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel I sat there and thought it looks like a complete farce of a slapstick comedy. Now it cannot be denied the cast list is beyond impressive. But everything about the trailer from it’s speed, to it’s soundtrack, and it’s constant pushing of one line quips and it’s easy to see why I fell to this conclusion. In fact, watching the trailer again a few moments ago and I am instantly back there, the images and expectations the trailer produce are the same now as they were then and I’ve even seem the film this time.

As a result of my preconceived ideas based on the trailer I was going to let The Grand Budapest Hotel slip by, I wasn’t overly interested in it – which is slightly strange as I have seen Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums all by Wes Anderson – and was planning to happily let it walk in and out of my local cinema without having me grace a showing. However, as with all good plans, my Dad saw the trailer, said he quite fancied it and then combined with both critic and public reception placing it into lofty heights I re-evaluated my decision, and while still not 100% sold trotted off to the cinema to see what all the fuss was about. So-to-speak.

What I can say to start off with is that the plot and style you create in your head based upon the trailer and the film that is projected on screen do not match up. This is a proper, mad, confusing, adult film. It’s got Wes Anderson written all over it. And the one thing you cannot throw at this film is the word slapstick.

That doesn’t mean I enjoyed it though. Far from it. I found it totally bizarre, and still am not sure what the film is trying to achieve. Is it trying to simply tell a story from start to finish? Is it trying to talk metaphorically about deeper social and political issues? Is it trying to reference or poke fun at other movies? Watch the trailer again after thinking Life of Pi for example.

One thing I am sure of is that it really does scream Wes Anderson. He has a unique style and this film could not have been created by anybody else. From the attention to detail in shooting each aspect of the films timeline in it’s historical ratio (and then following it up with a note to cinema projectionists explaining this) to the Benny Hill frame rates and tilt shift camera sequences finished with a soundtrack that serves to merely reinforce the images in front of you rather than add anything to the overall experience. Every element of this film is unmistakably placed to ensure you can have no doubt it was created by man who is either much smarter than you or completely mad. Either way, they see the world in a very different way to everyone else.

And that’s my biggest problem with the film. I just don’t see it. I don’t get it the bigger picture. It’s intriguing and brings to you an unexpected charm but it also doesn’t fill you up. I read a review that said it’s like eating the lightest of desserts – absolutely amazing but completely unfulfilling and I must say I totally agree. It’s 100 minutes of my life I don’t want back, but I don’t feel like it’s given me anything either.

Is it worth seeing? I’d see yes, but don’t rush out.

6 out of 10 stars (6 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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