This British-German co-production directed by Wes Anderson is the adventure of Gustave, (a comedic turn for Ralph Fiennes) a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa (the astonishing 17-year old Tony Revolori) , the “lobby boy” who becomes his confident and essential companion. Together they are determined to prove Gustave’s innocence after being framed for both theft and murder. The story centers on the theft of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for a family fortune — all against the back-drop of a dramatically changing Europe.
The narrative takes place in three time periods (each indicated by a different cinematic technique): 1) the present in which a teenage girl stands before a stature of “The Author” and begins learning about his story of the Grand Budapest Hotel; 2) 1968, a flashback to the elderly owner Zero Moustafa and “The Author” (Jude Law): Zero’s remembrance of his youth under the tutelage of Gustave, concierge extraordinaire. 3) pre- Second World War, circa 1932-33 when Zero is a young “lobby boy” and Gustave is the darling of the wealthy doyennes who patronize the hotel. One especially wealthy eccentric upon whom he dotes, Madame D (Tilda Swinton), dies mysteriously and bequeaths everything to Gustave. Then the wild journey and story really take off with Gustave and Zero partners in crime.
I am a huge fan of Wes Anderson (ever since “Bottle Rocket”). His films have always been quirky, idiosyncratic and goofy originals. All of Anderson’s trademarks combine to produce the ultimate wackiness in his humor. The absurdity that defines his style makes “The Grand Budapest Hotel” crazy and hilarious!