‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’: The Light-Hearted Misadventures of a Hotel Concierge and his Lobby Boy
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014) is the light-hearted tale of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a hotel concierge in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka in 1932. Courting wealthy older female hotel patrons in an obsequious and resoundingly charming manner, Gustave soon finds himself the benefactor of the deceased Madame D's estate—specifically a priceless painting coveted by the Madame's surviving family members.
In an act of retribution, Gustave is framed for the Madame's murder and unjustly imprisoned, soon finding himself face-to-face with a hardened group of brute convicts. In one the film's more amusing developments, Gustave befriends his fellow captors and hatches an illicit plan to escape prison with their assistance as well as that of his trusted lobby boy, Zero. Much of the ensuing storyline entails Gustave and Zero's madcap ramble throughout the Alps, desperate to prove Gustave's innocence while being trailed by the merciless henchman J.G. Jopling (Willem Dafoe).
Written and directed by Wes Anderson ("The Royal Tenenbaums', "Isle of Dogs"), "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is awash with Anderson’s trademark whimsy and idiosyncratic characterizations—amounting to a lively and enjoyable fable cemented by Fiennes' dynamic and utterly superb performance. It's a role he was born to play, delivering great energy and wonderful comic timing to his unique character. In all, it's a winning comedy from one of Hollywood's most unique and quirky voices—this one slotting in near the very top of his impressive resume.
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