Wes Anderson's latest comedy-drama is a highly stylized tale, set mostly in a fictional pre-Nazi Eastern European country named the Republic of Zubrowka. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a charming, fast-pace story, whose protagonist is a revered concierge named Monsieur Gustave H. It is told, firsthand, by the concierge's sidekick and protégé, a fellow answering to the name of Zero Moustafa. The plot involves a murder mystery of an aging countess and its related aftermath.
The film packs elegance and hypocrisy, sarcasm and plenty of romanticism. This awkward mix allows Anderson to appear more sophisticated than this story deserves, a point that makes The Grand Budapest Hotel a little less appealing than it could have been. Rather than keeping the fun lightness of its first part, Anderson directs the plot into a darker horizon. Still, all in all, it is a delightful movie.
Kudus go also to the production design. It created a stylized classic set that is, at the same time, both familiar yet fresh. The cast, led by Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H. and supported by Tony Revolori as young Zero Moustafa, is aided by an entourage of respectable stars, all seem eager to work with Anderson. Fiennes shines.
With its white and pink facade, The Grand Budapest Hotel itself looks much like a tall fancy wedding cake, structured with layers over layers of, well, nothing of real substance, thus becoming a set metaphor for the story. It is an enjoyable film, though, I must admit that the trailer was more promising than the delivered final product.