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A Magazine for Sheffield

The Grand Budapest Hotel

There are many elements that make a film Wes Anderson’s. Regularly labelled as ‘quirky’ or ‘peculiar’, his attention to detail in his filmography is almost as staggering as the spectacles and stories that appear through them. The release of The Grand Budapest Hotel coincides with the Wes Anderson season at Sheffield’s very own Showroom Cinema, where some of his best works such as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) have been shown in preparation for the latest effort from the American filmmaker. Budapest is Anderson’s eighth feature and his first since Moonrise Kingdom (2012). This newest venture, a comedy drama inspired by the work of Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, offers another ambitious setting, this time an enchanting grand hotel. Everything that features in the film, down to the typography, is visually delightful. But it’s the use of colour in The Grand Budapest Hotel that is particularly striking. Each scene is so vibrant, remarkable and in contrast to the other spectrums of shade on the screen that at times it feels like you’re watching a living, breathing Jackson Pollock painting. The Boy With Apple, the unusual but beautiful painting that is central to the theme’s plot, seems to embody that feeling perfectly. It also features a recognisable story structure and a few familiar faces - Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. The cast is so strong that it’s perhaps unsurprising that the film is so good, with a host of stars well-known and new to the Anderson world. The two central characters may fall into the latter category, but they don’t look out of their depth. Ralph Fiennes, who plays Monsieur Gustave, the concierge of the hotel in the 1930s, brilliantly portrays a mid-mannered eloquent British chap who is hard to dislike. Fiennes revels in a comic role not seen from him since his portrayal of a maniac cockney gangster in In Bruges (2008). The story focuses primarily on newcomer Tony Revolori as Zero Moustafa, the hotel lobby boy who becomes Gustave’s trusted assistant and soon-to-be trusted friend. His relationship with bakery girl Agatha (Saorise Ronan) also provides a child-like innocence Anderson associates with love. Bob Balaban, who plays a cameo appearance as another concierge named M Martin, sums up why it’s so appealing working with Anderson: “Because of who Wes hires and because of the way he writes, and of the way he films these things, you end up with great performances from actors that you’ve always loved but never seen them doing anything like this before.” This film is undoubtedly an Anderson piece, from the miniscule detail of the hotel to the grand spectacle of the entire film, and it is a magnificent one at that. )

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