The Grand Budapest Hotel

Pink Hotel.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Tagline. The week is new, and at last we can almost see the ground, emerging from the hellish permafrost that I feel has engulfed us for an eternity. I know that February is the shortest month out of the year, but I swear it dragged on for months. Enough about that though, let's focus on what's going on inside of movie theaters specifically. today I will be talking the recent effort from that most...I don't know what word I'm searching for, but it falls somewhere between pretentious and whimsical, of directors, Wes Anderson. I am talking of course about The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film that was recently nominated for nine Oscars (four of which it won, although best picture eluded it). I wouldn't take it too hard though Wes, this is the same academy that last year nominated Gravity for best picture, which I feel the need to reiterate, I FUCKING HATE. I'm not sure this is a body you can trust, though I guess it's better than the AACTA, which actually AWARDED best picture to Gravity. That's awful, but don't worry, that's enough about that garbage. Instead we will talk about The Grand Budapest, a film starring Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H, the concierge at the Grand Budapest. This story is a framing story, within another framing device, being a story that an author is telling, about a story he was told by the owner of the Grand Budapest to him in the 60s, about when the OWNER was a young lobby boy in the late 30s.

There it is. The very image of class.
So as a lobby boy, Zero worked under Monsieur Gustave, who represents a sort of bygone age of decadent service (as does the Grand Budapest itself, existing in a sort of liminal space) and personal attention. Gustave in particular pays attention to vain rich old ladies, but in general represents a high standard of professionalism, and also (of course) eccentricity. The Grand Budapest occupies the imaginary European nation of Zabrowka, ravaged by war and poverty, and on the eve of what looks to be a fight between communists and fascists (which seems appropriate given the era). This is the backdrop on which the movie opens, and in this climate, one of Gustave's old rich paramours dies suddenly, and so he rushes to her estate to pay his respects. There he discovers that he is to inherit a priceless painting, boy with apple. Of course the deceased Madame D's son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) is none impressed with Gustave, and is eager to solidify his inheritance and wrest the painting from Gustave (who immediately absconds with it, with the help of Zero). It is at this point that it comes to light that Madame D was in fact poisoned, and Gustave is being set up to take the fall for the deed. This starts a story of intrigue and conspiracy, as Gustave attempts to prove his innocence (with the help of his protege of course). Amidst these events Zero also meets Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) the love of his life.

Look how floury she is! A vision of loveliness
If you have seen anything directed by Wes Anderson ever, then you have a pretty good idea already about the sort of tone the movie will strike (Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited), a sort of juxtaposition of bleak circumstance and brightly colored scenery. There is a sort of deliberate haphazardness to the movie, and it is broken down into five main segments, along with a prologue and epilogue. While there is always a degree of pretentiousness to Wes Anderson movies, I still found this one to be particularly entertaining and enjoyable. Ralph Fiennes is amazing as Gustave, and together he and Zero (18 year old Tony Revolori) have a real buddy movie thing going on. They make for a very amusing pair, and are backed up by a fantastic cast, including Edward Norton (who was all over Oscar movies this year, also featuring prominently in Birdman) Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Jude Law to name a few.

They're basically nazis.
I went into this movie not entirely convinced that I would like it, but it more or less immediately won me over. As a enjoyable movie that entertains without being oppressive, I can definitely recommend you see this movie. It is worth the hour and a halfish runtime and then some (it goes without saying I think but this movie grossed around 175 million against its 30 million dollar budget, so good for it). Also this movie had less of a weird pedo vibe than Moonrise Kingdom, so that was nice. Anyway that's it for today! Join me again on Thursday for maybe something weird?

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