The fecundity of director Wes Anderson’s imagination has never been so beautifully luminous, so poignantly poetic as in this enchanting, compelling slice of nostalgia; a pecan of a world and life only treasured, experienced through the written word and a magical film. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, influenced by the brilliant, prescient autobiography, “The World of Yesterday” by Austrian, Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) is remarkable in wrapping the viewer in the ironic escapades of “Gustave H.”, the concierge of the fictional Grand Budapest Hotel. Ralph Fiennes stellar performance is profound in gifting Gustave’s elegant demeanor, a slicing, stinging, salty tongue; as the seducer of elderly women, a thief, an escapee, he is the epitome of class, savoir faire, charm, touching hilarity graced with an occasional sprinkle of humility; aplomb under the most frustrating, frightening circumstances. Gustave is a Renaissance man, living in and loving a world on the brink of annihilation; Europe in the early 1930’s.
Told in a series of flashbacks (1960’s) by ageing proprietor, “ M. Moustafa” (refined, sensitive depiction by F. Murray Abraham); as “Lobby Boy: “Zero” (17 year-old Tony Revolori is sensational); the antics that cemented Gustave and his unlikely bond. Anderson shrinks the screen, embracing in intimacy the perils of the past, while expanding the scope when focusing on the present day. Like “Moonrise Kingdom” the action is formally framed; the characters move with the choreographic agility of trained dancers; shades of Charlie Chaplin’s artifice; “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a wondrous feat of filmmaking.
A plethora of actors fortify the film with depth and style: Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Willem Defoe, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray; but it is Ralph Fiennes, who imbues with vibrancy, the ghost of writer Stefan Zweig (committed suicide with his wife, in 1942) “better to conclude in good time, a life in which intellect’s labor meant the purest joy and personal freedom, the highest good on earth”. Wes Anderson and his boundless creative freedom blesses audiences with a joyous journey, a delicious parody of a time gone bye.