The Grand Budapest Hotel synopsis and official movie trailer

The Grand Budapest Hotel synopsis and official movie trailer

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a story within a story, within a story. It begins with a girl at a monument to a writer, who starts reading from a book which details the unnamed author's account when he visited the titular hotel in the 1960s, well past its glory days.

There the author (played by Jude Law) chances upon meeting the owner of the hotel, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who then recalls the story of his youth when he first began working there. This is when the film really takes off, focussing on the amazing adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at the renowned hotel - during its heyday, located in the fictional alpine state of the Republic of Zubrowka, on the brink of war during the 1930s.

Gustave hires the young Zero (Tony Revolori), then a stateless immigrant, as the hotel's bell boy. As the quick-thinking and astute Zero learns the ropes of his new job, he soon develops a friendship with the elegantly debonair Gustave, who is in control of the many facets and inner workings of the renowned resort.

Gustave is also a ladies man, and a shoulder to cry on - among other things - for the many wealthy elderly ladies who frequent the establishment. One such person is Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who later dies under mysterious circumstances back at her family mansion. Gustave, with Zero in tow, rushes to the mansion by train to pay his last respects at her wake and later finds out that the old lady has left him a fortune in the form of an extremely valuable Renaissance-era painting.

Madame D's family is obviously unhappy but before they realise it Gustave runs off with the painting and carefully hides it. Things get complicated when he is implicated as Madame D's murderer and is sent to prison. Gustave must now rely on his loyal friend Zero to help him in his perilous quest to clear his name, retrieve the painting and, live happily ever after.

There a bit of drama here but it's outshone by the comedic nature of the events, so when the hijinks ensue, it's a laugh-out-loud roller-coaster ride.

Fiennes is the highlight of the film and delivers an effective portrayal of the eccentric Gustave, who delivers the funniest lines in the film. The ensemble cast also aid in delivering the comedic goods, which include Jeff Goldblum, as the rich family's unfortunate solicitor and, Harvey Keitel, as a ridiculously tattooed inmate.

The main villains of the film, Madame D's son Dmitri and his cold-blooded assassin J.G. Jopling (Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe respectively), are cutout cartoon characters. The two milk it for what it's worth, which only adds to the wackiness of The Grand Budapest Hotel. At some point, longstanding Anderson collaborators Bill Murray and Owen Wilson also pop up in cameos.

Anderson shot the film, a British and German co-production, in three different aspect ratios to differentiate the timelines. The multi-layered film is truly a visual feast - the kind of film that will continue to reward the cinemagoer with new observations on each viewing. Its dreamy faux vintage feel is in itself worth the price of admission.

The Grand Budapest Hotel may be artistically affluent and bizarre around the edges but thankfully it also an enjoyable and hearty watch - even if you're not an aficionado who'd love to thoroughly dissect a film like this.


Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, LÈa Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tony Revolori


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