8 January 2022

Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

As so many people have seen this film, and as the plot is so intricate, it seems pointless to spend a huge amount of time on detail: it's perhaps enough to say that this doesn't take place in France (where Anderson has a home in Paris, and is fascinated by the country) but mainly in Germany, notably Görlitz, where the 'hotel' seen is in fact a disused department store: the exterior shots of the place show a model. Stefan Zweig was an inspiration behind the tale.

In a madcap, fast-action film that in some respects reminded me of something that might have come from the brains of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, this is a story within a story. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a book and the narrator (Tom Wilkinson) meets the elderly owner of the run-down hotel, Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), who tells him of the hotel in the 1930s, and of how he came into possession of the building.

Zero was a mere bell boy receiving instructions from Gustav H. (Ralph Fiennes), a gigolo concierge whose speciality was attracting elderly women to repeat visits there. That's how Gustav came into possession of a priceless painting at the hotel, in fact of the hotel itself. And although the concierge is murdered by Nazis and so unable to enjoy his wealth, Zero inherited it.

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