By Emmanuel Gutierrez |Features Editor|
The film is an oddball collection of stories within a story; rather, a novel about the author interviewing the owner of a hotel, with flashbacks set some time between both World Wars composing the majority of the film.
Don’t let that deter you from experiencing a charming, intelligent piece of art that seems all too rare
Gustave, the legendary, impressionable concierge played by Ralph Fiennes, has the habit of sleeping with many, if not all his female clients—feeble, elderly women in fur coats and jewelry for days.
He inherits a priceless painting, “Boy with Apple”, from one of his wealthiest and ancient clients, Madame D., becoming the prime suspect of her murder investigation.
Zero, hotel lobby boy and Gustave’s personal apprentice played by Tony Revolori, mans the hotel in his mentor’s absence, while aiding him in his efforts to clear his name and escape the hands of a hired assassin.
Littered with an abundance of awkward-pause reactions, back-handed comments delivered with overbearing politeness, and shocking instances of hilarious vulgarity, the film’s dialogue and antics are tremendous fun.
Even more so thanks to the performances.
Each actor breathes and embodies each character so naturally, as if Anderson tailored human suits from his imagination, fitting them on willing and able actors glass slipper style, until there was only one natural fit for the role.
“The cinematography was simple, but colorful and interesting. The screen kept changing. Kind of reminded me of old cartoons at times,” said student Fernando Virgen.
The film distinguishes each time period, each story, with a different aspect ratio, referencing an era of film that would have been the norm for each time period.
The present, more or less, of the aged author divulging notions and processes of writing, specifically his novel “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, was shot in 1.85:1—what today’s movie goers would perceive as normal.
The flashback of the author in his younger days was shot in 2.35:1, considerably wider than tall and more grandiose in scope.
Reminiscent of the 60’s, when theaters fought back—overcompensating—with a more cinematic aspect ratio to combat the increasing viewership of teeny, tiny television screens.
The final aspect ratio, 1.37:1, the square-ish, tight-fitting Academy ratio presents Gustave’s antics, along with the red-painted interior elevators, lavish, purple uniforms, and dingy prison cells.
Anderson, love or hate him, crafted a nostalgic gem of cinema echoing the film eras before us—garnering nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.
Ridiculous yet brilliant, refreshingly idiosyncratic, and utterly engrossing, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a nostalgic box of kick-ass chocolates, saving your fagiggily-gland from lack-of-awesomeness failure. 5/5 Paws.