Posted in films & DVD

The Grand Budapest Hotel

I would like to go and see The Grand Budapest Hotel, the latest film by Director Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise ), which is a comedy/drama which opened to rave reviews at the Berlin Film Festival and has been described as a filigreed toy box of a movie, so delicious-looking you may want to lick the screen. The film is a rollicking caper which mixes theft, a prison break, a murder and pastry recipes and also contains humor, heartbreak and a bruised romantic’s view of the past. the story starts in the present, where a teenage girl approaches a monument to a writer in a cemetery, whilst holding a memoir penned by a character only known as “The Author”. She begins reading a chapter about a trip he made to the Grand Budapest Hotel in the late 1960s. Located in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, a European alpine state ravaged by war and poverty, he discovers that the remote, mountainside hotel has fallen on hard times. Many of its lustrous facilities are now in a poor state of repair, and its guests are few. The Author encounters the hotel’s old owner, Zero Moustafa, one afternoon, and they agree to meet later that evening. Over dinner in the hotel’s enormous dining room, Zero tells him the tale of how he took ownership of the hotel and why he is unwilling to close it down.

Zero continues his tale from 1932 during the hotel’s opulent glory days between the world wars, with Nazis on the march and an elegant way of life under siege, His tale pivots around the character of Monsieur Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the devoted hotel concierge who believes that etiquette helps define civilization. But his morals are no match for his manners as he enjoys sexual congress with guests of both sexes. Gustave finds himself surrounded by glorious liars, lovers keen to enjoy the hotel’s “exceptional services” and decides to take the lobby boy Zero Moustafa,(tony Revolori) under his wing. The vain concierge flirts with Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), Zero’s true love, who carries a facial birthmark shaped like Mexico. Agatha works at Mendl’s bakery, where her famed pastry, Courtesan au chocolat, helps thicken the plot.

One such patron who is keen to enjoy the hotel’s “exceptional services” is An 84 year old dowager named Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis, (Tilda Swinton) who shows up at the Grand Budapest Hotel and takes a liking to Gustave. And spends the night with him before departing the next day. However she is found dead in mysterious circumstances soon afterwards and a valuable Renaissance painting named Boy with Apple, belonging to Mrs Desgoffe und Taxis goes missing, and Gustave and Zero are framed for the crime, so they go on the run from the police led by Inspector (Edward Norton) and Dmitri (Adrien Brody), Madame D’s ruthless son, and his henchman J.G.Jopling, a cold blooded killer (Willem Dafoe). Gustave and Zero find themselves going from one scrape to another and narrowly escape prison with the help of a tattooed Harvey Keitel as they try to prove their innocence along the way they arrive at a mountaintop monestry where they meet with Serge X, the only person who can provide an alibi.

Back at the Grand Budapest, the military have commandeered the hotel and are in the process of converting it into a barracks. The outbreak of war is now imminent. A heartbroken Gustave vows to never again pass the threshold. They are joined by Agatha, Zero’s love interest. She agrees to go inside to retrieve the painting but is discovered by Dmitri. Gustave innocence rests on discovering a confessional letter, penned by Serge, hidden in the painting’s frame, which also contains the latest version of Madame D’s will, and reveals the identity of the mysterious owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel and who stands to inherit her fortune, the hotel and the painting. The film also stars Bill Murray, Own Wilson and Jason Schwartzman as a trio of wacky concierges.

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