This Wes Anderson film is a joy. Not only was I taken out by my two daughters (who are huge fans and wanted an excuse to see it again); it was full of fun, absurdity, wit, style and a sneaky amount of poignant substance that catches you unawares and leaves you with a sense of loss at the brevity of life. This is a flashback story of a mythical golden age gone for ever – along with characters you care about and who inhabited it with such verve, humour and courage.
Visually it is entrancing and creative, intermingling miniatures and ‘real life’ sets, all beautifully constructed to the finest detail – like Fiennes’ acting in fact. He is marvellous as M. Gustave, the impeccable, solitary and outrageously promiscuous concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel in its splendid heyday in the fictional state of Zubrowka. His Lobby Boy, Tony Revolori, is dead-pan excellent and his later self played by F Murray Abraham, is shrouded in both melancholy and sweet memories.
Familiar Anderson faithfuls appear one after another – Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, supplemented by a wildly over-the-top thug in Willem Defoe, a lonely Jude Law, and batty Tilda Swinton, a punctilious Jeff Goldblum, a bizarre Harvey Keitel and Saoirse Ronan speaking in a glorious Carlow accent. You could imaging all of them having a ball behind the scenes.
The amusing plot is simply a vehicle for the caper to begin. Can’t guarantee you’ll like it, but jump on board and see where it takes you.