F. Murray Abraham
Focusing on a fictional hotel in Europe, The Grand Budapest, the film follows the exploits of renowned concierge Gustave H, played brilliantly by Ralph Fiennes, and his Bellboy, Zero Moustafa, played by Tony Revolori, as they form a friendship while traversing war, prison, love, and a host of interesting, odd, and scary characters. Itís the usual bag for Andersonís films, which never leaves you wanting for individual standouts; there are plenty to be found here with a bevy of excellent guest stars, including Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and Harvey Keitel (amongst others), all of whom play against their usual grain for this outing.
Fiennes is the whole show here. His Gustave H. is enigmatic, sharp, witty, and downright hilarious, while still showing a deep humility in his deeds and actions. Itís his best role in years and one that makes the most use of his abilities as an actor. The supporting cast, including Willem Dafoe as an unscrupulous character who does plenty of ďdirty workĒ throughout, Adrian Brody as a greedy heir, Saoirse Ronan as the love interest of Zero, and Jeff Goldblum as an all-business estate executor, are a great lot throughout. Brody is particularly hilarious and menacing, reminding us once again how shamefully underutilized he is in Hollywood.
The cast being great is no real surprise, though, as thatís the throughline for most of Andersonís films. The story is a surprise, though, as itís an intricate, clever, and layered one that begins and ends with a strong panache. In many ways, the film reminded me of a Tarantino film as directed by Anderson, which is a pretty damn cool set up if you ask me. And I mean that in many ways; from the profanity, violence, and time-jumping storyline, thereís a lot of similarities there and Anderson handles it deftly. Itís part caper, part love story, and part tale of friendship, but as a whole works perfectly as a finely tuned comedy with true heart and character.
I donít see how you could not feel completely satiated after watching THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. It is, quite simply, an exceptionally made film with a number of great small performances from the supporting cast and an awards-worthy performance from Fiennes. While heralding all the benchmarks of Andersonís previous works, the film stands as step forward in his repertoire, managing to balance the darker moments with the lithe tone weíre used to and creating a wholly engrossing experience altogether. Youíll definitely want to check in and stay for a few viewings.
Bill Murray Tours The Town: A short featurette that has star Bill Murray walking around the German town that the movie was filmed with his usual humorous antics.
- Kunstmuseum Zubrowka Lecture: Tom Wilkinson's character gives a historical lecture on the time period and growth of the fictional European country that the hotel resides.
- The Society of Crossed Keys: An intricate look at what the Society is, how it was founded, and some of it's "key events" that it helped to influence throughout Zubrowka's history
- Mendl's Secret Recipe: Watch (and follow along) as the recipe for the famous pastry used in the film is created from scratch!
Promotional Features: The Making of The Grand Budapest Hotel - Standard featurettes that take you behind the scenes of the film with cast and crew interviews and on location behind-the-scenes footage of the production of the film.
- Part 1: The Story
- Part 2: The Society of Crossed Keys
- Part 3: Creating The Hotel
- Part 4: Creating The World
- Cast: Delves into the large and diverse cast of the film.
- Wes Anderson: Looks at the director's methods and style in crafting the film.
Stills Gallery: A cool collection of photos that highlight the various props from the film, from hotel keys, postcards, passports, art, and more.