Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody


I’m starting to get tired of the Wes Anderson formula. Quirky, quick-talking characters struggle with a regimented, constricting establishment (school in Rushmore, family tradition in The Royal Tenenbaums, Boy Scouts in Moonrise Kingdom, a historic hotel in this one) that is just as quirky as the characters. Extra comedy comes from the awkwardness of formal English.

In this movie in particular, we alternate almost exclusively between shots that are perfectly symmetrical and flat dolly shots that make some scenes feel like a side-scrolling video game. Everything is tied together with right-angle pans and nostalgic zooms. It’s obvious that even the actors have been carefully instructed to stand and sit and lay down and look and exist only in right angles. We either see them in perfect profile, or they’re damn near looking right into the camera. Anderson is impressively consistent with these techniques, but it gets awfully boring after a while.

Brush away Anderson’s distinctive style, and we’re not left with much else. When he spends the whole time reveling in quirkiness instead of giving these characters real personalities and dramatic motivations, it’s hard to care about them or the story.

A lot of famous faces in this one. Anderson has a lot of friends.

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