Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

April 17, 2014

'Grand Budapest Hotel' is distinctively director Anderson

Ryan Maddux and Andy Stuckey
Greensburg Daily News

---- — With the summer movie season right around the corner, we looked back at an under-the-radar film released this spring – director Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (R). A highly recognizable ensemble cast is headed up by Ralph Feinnes, who stars as the concierge at the hotel of the film’s title. Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Adrian Brody and many others costar.

Ryan: Wes Anderson films are almost a genre in and of themselves. Like all great directors, he has his own sense of style, but more so than most – his films have a distinct flavor. Put simply, if one likes other Wes Anderson films, one will like/love “Budapest.” It’s a very good movie. It has the Anderson staples of being whimsical and quirky, but, like all the rest of his other films – one cares about the story, one cares about the characters. From the film’s aesthetics to the way characters act and talk, Anderson is a very stylistic director. But unlike most directors that simply rely on form, there’s weight behind Anderson’s style. Besides the little things in the movie that make it feel like a Wes Anderson film, the relationships of the three main characters propel the movie along and give the film sufficient emotional depth to makes it one of the best films of the year.

Andy: In spite of being a distinctly Wes Anderson film, it’s clear Anderson is trying something different here. First of all, the film is a bit of a caper, revolving around a stolen painting (Boy With Apple). It’s also a narrative within a narrative within a narrative, which is to say that one character (Jude Law’s character) is flashing back to a story where another character flashes back even further. This gives Anderson more flexibility in how the story unfolds. He also tackles adult themes and language in a way that most Anderson films do not, giving “Budapest” a different flavor, even if it still has the feel of a Wes Anderson film.

Ryan: Ralph Fiennes is as an accomplished actor as it gets, but it was extremely refreshing (and enjoyable) seeing him play a more effervescent part. The world of the “Budapest” is solely Anderson’s fantastical creation, but it’s respectful of its place and time in history. Fiennes performance as the extraordinary concierge just seems like the pitch-perfect performance for that specific time and locale.

His combination of drama and comedy (and executions thereof) performed in this movie is Cary Grant-esque, and that’s the highest praise that I can give. When award season rolls around, I hope this performance isn’t forgotten.

Andy: Once you get past all of the “Anderson-isms” it’s clear this movie doesn’t work without the talented performance of Ralph Fiennes. He is all energy and pomp from the get-go, and it is his character’s spark that keeps the narrative pushing forward at a frantic pace not often seen in Anderson’s universe. His role, though a meaty one, is by no means easy. To maintain the proper attitude and demeanor throughout the film, while still seeming to be a real person is great feat. Simply, it is the best performance I have seen so far in 2014. While “The Grand Budapest Hotel” isn’t a transcendent film, it IS highly entertaining and contains no glaring flaws. Final grade: A-.

— Daily News