The Grand Budapest Hotel
by John Seedhouse
There is something about a Wes Anderson movie that makes you sit up when the trailer comes on. We were in a gigaplex somewhere when The Grand Budapest Hotel jumped up and waved at us for two and a half minutes. It seemed incongruous really. We laughed and put it on the must watch list there and then. Watch the trailer and then we can reconvene in around two inches time and I’ll tell you where, why, how and if.
See what I mean? Looks like a good romp doesn’t it. You kind of have to be a fan I suppose. I enjoyed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and 75% got with The Darjeeling Limited, so maybe there is a bias there to begin with. Anyway, you are either going to go and watch this film or not and I doubt that anyone will be walking in without some prior consideration of either hotels or Wes Anderson’s previous work.
The thought of going to a large impersonal multiplex seemed somehow wrong and we figured we may well be the 2 lone audience members shivering in the cold. We decided to hunt down a little localish bespoke place. Friendly old Google pointed us either north or south.
They were nice on the phone and you couldn’t pay via the website.
“Don’t worry” said the man, “we just take a card when you get here.”
We didn’t and they did. We went before 4pm and it was a fiver each. We were in the “small cinema” – maybe 20 seats. 6 others were occupied by pensioners. It was rather like nipping round some friend’s house for a DVD night.
Perfect location for an intimate film really.
I take photographs of stuff sometimes. I enjoy doing that. The lush cinematography and clockwork nature of the edits made me smile. I went with Mrs L and she will tell you that smiles and me are a rare combination.
There is a “scene” early in the film when Ralph Fiennes’ character, the masterful M.Gustave choreographs his staff to set up for the departure of a dear guest which could well be the perfect illustration of how and why Wes Anderson is and does.
Arty is arty and therefore potentially farty if there is no substance to a narrative. Mrs. L is an appreciator of image but does want some good dialogue and character interplay. She got it. Bill Murray makes an appearance. He doesn’t say a lot. He doesn’t need to. Nobody needs to say too much and that is a good thing. Good actors play the spaces in-between the words and that is why you remember them. Fiennes says “fuck” a lot. It’s not a Joe Pesci fuck-a-thon. It’s a profanessionally measured dramatic series of snipped percussion and given that there were 6 pensioners to potentially annoy there were no tuts only giggles.
Or maybe should? Yes I would suggest it. You probably already have though. This is more a gentle reminder than a sales pitch from me. I will probably buy it on DVD too. Just don’t try to watch it in a popcorn and screaming kids palace.
If it were a bell-hop then I would tip well.