Wes Anderson impresses once again with the Grand Budapest Hotel

Regina Ortanez, Arts & features editor

In Wes Anderson’s universe, everything has vibrant color, Futura text and perfect symmetry; these three factors are no strangers in his latest release, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

With an all star cast, a murder mystery and a dash of historical fiction, this is both his most exciting and darkest film to date.

In the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, the country is at the verge of war and nearing complete ruin.

In the midst of all of this, the Grand Budapest Hotel, a lavish resort for the wealthy and elite, set to the backdrop of snow-covered peaks, shares a similar struggle to retain it’s extravagance despite the politcal unrest happening.

Ralph Fiennes plays an eccentric concierge named Gustave H. who runs the Grand Budapest Hotel, while keeping up with his questionable relations with some of the hotel’s wealthiest patrons including lonely old widows.

Newcomer Tony Revolori serves as Gustave’s trusty right hand man, Zero Moustafa, an orphaned refugee that commits his entire life to the job of lobby boy after fleeing his war-ridden country.

The film is told in a flashback within a flashback, telling the story of the duo’s exploits and adventures they find themselves in after being falsely accused of the murder of one of Gustave’s elderly lovers; the extremely wealthy and mysterious Madame D. played by Tilda Swinton.

In Madame D.’s will, she lists Gustave to inherit a priceless painting titled, “Boy With Apple,” much to the dismay of her surviving family.

Particularly distraught is her son, Dimitri, a malicious character ever clad in black, played by the usually charming Adrien Brody.

Despite already under suspicion, Gustave and Zero steal the painting anyway, and chaos ensues.

What drives the plot is a combination of the charisma and optimism of Gustave and the unquestioning loyalty of Zero, who together, use these often undervalued traits to overcome something bigger than Dmitiri and his violent hitman-slash-cat-killer, J.G., played by Willem Dafoe.

Though it is historical fiction, the film references to a time reminiscent of a distinctly European tragedy, perhaps at the hands of a dictator akin to Hitler or Stalin and the will to remain grand and beautiful despite it.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” in itself, is a symbol of that time, struggling to retain it’s integrity and splendor in the face of political oppression.
The protagonist reflects the hotel in his own journey as he painstakingly tries to keep up his extravagant ways.

These include putting on his favorite expensive cologne after crawling through the sewers to escape prison and somehow always finding time to recite a long and tedious verse of romantic poetry even in a time crunch.
Gustave in many ways is the Grand Budapest Hotel embodied and all the more admirable for it.

The film is kept whimsical and light throughout, with comedic bits sprinkled here and there, along with countless cameos by the usual Wes Anderson favorites, such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” differs in that it hints at something more tragic and darker than any of his previous films.

This, in combination with the characters played by actors not usually associated with Wes Anderson films, such as the baker’s apprentice and the love of Zero’s life, Agatha, portrayed by the show-stealing Saoirse Ronan, makes for a film that is hard not to like.

This is impressive even for those who don’t usually like Anderson films, or perhaps unfamiliar with them altogether.

As someone who’d normally reject the highly polished and grandiose style of Anderson’s film making, my only complaint here is that at 99 minutes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was not long enough.