Starring: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Tony Revolori
Review: In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). Zero (Tony Revolori), a junior lobby boy, becomes Gustave's friend and protege. Gustave prides himself on providing first-class service to the hotel's guests, including satisfying the sexual needs of the many elderly women who stay there. When one of Gustave's lovers dies mysteriously, Gustave finds himself the recipient of a priceless painting and the chief suspect in her murder.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a visual masterpiece set in the fictional Eastern European nation of Zubrowka. The cinematography here is brilliant as Zubrowka is brought to life with inspiration drawn from Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Zubrowka features pastel-colored buildings and hotels set atop hills looking over the town, complete with a cable railway to ascend into the mountainous terrain. The hotel drew inspiration from many of the European hotels in the 1930's with long, wide, carpeted corridors and sun shining through the windowed hallways. Wes Anderson does a brilliant job of capturing the aesthetic of this setting. The result is a sense of authenticity embedded in this fictional world. Ralph Fiennes is remarkable as Gustave H., perfecting his craft as a concierge with a sense of gusto, wit, and sophistication. The star-studded cast gets great performances from just about everyone, especially Jeff Goldblum, Mathieu Amalric, Saiorse Ronan, and Tony Revolori; who does a fantastic job as Gustave H.'s trusty child protégé, Zero. The Grand Budapest Hotel boasts wonderful storytelling that is captivating and unpredictable. There's comedy, drama, and a lot of heart as Gustave H. and Zero attempt to navigate a series of unfortunate events, all while an aged Zero (F. Murray Abraham) recounts fondly the life of his mentor and friend. I thought this story was told brilliantly and that this film is deserving of all the accolades it has received. This film hits you in many different ways, and I think you will find that there's something in it for just about everybody. With a sub-2-hour runtime, The Grand Budapest Hotel hits the ground running, and is certainly a film worth your time!
Fun Fact: The scene in which Ludvig (Harvey Keitel) says, "Good luck, kid!" before slapping Zero (Tony Revolori) across the face was shot 42 times until Bill Murray was satisfied. Keitel actually slapped Revolori each time.