Harmonic chorus seemingly remote. Girl approaching a statute engraved ‘national treasure’ and slowly unraveling the book The Grand Budapest Hotel. Through the narrative of the Author, or Stefan Zweig (the ‘national treasure’), whose writings Beware of Pity and The Post-Office Girl inspired the screenplay of the movie, the adventure between a legendary concierge Monsieur Gustave H. and his loyal lobby boy Zero Mustafa unfolds in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka in the 1930s. Because of inheriting a priceless painting from a rich dowager guest of the hotel, M. Gustave was involved in the treacherous scheme of the son of the guest. He was sent to the prison, successfully escaped and inherited everything from the dowager. He was in the end shot at military checkpoint and Zero, his most faithful companion and ‘brother’, inherited M. Gustave’s property accordingly.
What distinguishes The Grand Budapest Hotel from other movies is its directing and production. Colourful scenes that exploit all hues on a palette are harmonic but in fact suggest evil plans. Meticulous design coupled with rhythmic music and acting surprisingly brings spontaneity. Seemingly discreet filming of violence presents unexpected brutality with chopped fingers and decapitated head with haunting facial expression. Literary M. Gustave who is versed in the most adorned manner and speaks in poems often explodes in vulgarities. It is a movie that you will miss out an important detail in the blink of an eye, and this is what keeps it upbeat and exciting.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the carefully constructed miniature of the director Wes Anderson’s world. A world which laments the decadent yesterday, the last aristocratic world preserved in the Grand Budapest Hotel, but slowly slipping away. A world where noble and kind people believe in humanity – ‘there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity‘, commented M. Gustave when an old acquaintance saved Zero’s and his life at the military checkpoint. A world where courage and decency are wronged by the evils, the former reluctantly become prone to vulgarity. Gustave’s world, or Anderson’s world, has long disappeared. Indeed, M. Gustave is himself the reminiscence of the past. Gustave’s superfluous manners that belong to another age are his feeble attempt to maintain the long-lost world: ‘To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it – but, I will say: he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace!‘ Gustave’s life was ended the next time his train was stopped at the same military checkpoint at the barley field – only that this time, there was no more old acquaintance saving him. He was shot by the military men when defending for Zero and his wife Agatha. The movie is an artwork mixed with faint glimmer of hope in humanity and the ironic reality of cruelty.
With camera gliding alongside the actors, Wes Anderson establishes a rare sense of intimacy and reaches out from the antique hotel to the audience in the modern world. He presents to us his impish but oddly practical fantasy in a dark but light way. He also put together the best people all of starkly different imageries in his carefully articulated hotel. He is said to be highly capable in uniting and bringing out the best performance of actors and actresses. Together they allow us to take a peek into Anderson’s wonderfully wired mind. The Grand Budapest Hotel, the quintessence of kindness and courage that shapes one of the most impressive years in recent years.