Wes Anderson is something of an acquired taste. I have enjoyed most of his movies, but felt The Darjeeling Ltd paled in comparison to his earlier stuff, and after Moonrise Kingdom, I said I was done with him. Despite my self-imposed boycott, I ended up watching The Grand Budapest Hotel and came out pleasantly surprised.

At first I wasn't totally involved, it felt just like every other Anderson movie with the charicatured characters and the quirky, fast-paced, overly-eloquent dialogue. However, as things progressed, I fell deeper and deeper into the story and actually became interested in the characters.

The plot surrounds a young author having a lengthy dinner discussion with a guest at the Grand Budapest Hotel. The guest reveals that he used to work at the hotel and now owns it outright. The story winds from his first day as a lobby boy, being mentored by the concierge, stealing priceless artwork, dealing with pre-war tensions in the region, orchestrating prison escapes, all while falling in love with the girl of his dreams. A whole lot happens in this movie, but it never feels rushed. Even the fast-paced scenes with the camera whipping back and forth between two characters feels comfortable, as Anderson nails the pacing for each scene.

Anderson's visuals are one of his defining characteristics. He is obsessed with symmetry, and I've found it has a sort of calming affect on me; maybe it's a sort of OCD. It's nice to see a movie that moves fluidly and cleanly as opposed to the shaky-cam style of current action movies. The settings range from the hotel lobby to prison cells to mountain ranges to train cars, and each place is beautifully shot.

Wes Anderson had been growing steadily through the first four movies in his filmography, but I had started to be disappointed in his last two (I still haven't seen Fantastic Mr. Fox). With The Grand Budapest Hotel, it felt like Anderson finally put everything together, from the directing and cinematography to the writing and acting.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" gets an 8 out of 10.


More From 105.7 The Hawk