By Christopher Null, Staff Editor
The primary goal of any film is to take the audience from the theater and into the world that they created. The reason for buying a ticket and sitting in a dark room and watching a series of moving pictures is to be fooled into believing what you are seeing is real. No one handles that task with such flair and innocence as Wes Anderson and in his newest film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” he manages to another luxurious hospitality.
There are two kinds of people in the world, those who love Wes Anderson films and those who don’t. To those who don’t appreciate the style of cinematography in his films, hopefully a little more technical insight will show you more than your eyes notice. In most shots, you may notice how actors, actress, and props are positioned within the scenery to be perfectly aligned in symmetry with the shot as a whole. In short, Wes Anderson positions his camera in spots that makes it obvious to the audience that the camera is present in the scene. He also incorporates model miniatures of some sets and still images to make you question whether what you are seeing is actually real. On the flip side of that, almost everything is labeled or spelled out (example: a vent spewing out steam on the side of a building has the words ‘Steam Ventilation’ written above it) to also integrate the viewer into the movie as they are forced to read and try to understand what they see rather than what they hear. Wes Anderson is a brilliant filmmaker because he doesn’t trick you into believing that what you see is real but puts people with genuine curiosity and subtle passions into an artificial world.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, in a way is a story that is being told as a story in another story. The tale follows Monsieur Gustave, the hotel’s dedicated concierge, and his lobby boy Zero, Tony Revolori. They work at the Grand Budapest Hotel and share a warm relationship along the way. But when a powerful German family is disgruntled by Monsieur Gustave’s elegant, pleasurable ways, scandal and war erupts bringing Zero and his wife Agatha, along with the rest of the Grand Budapest Hotel into a whirl of confusion and tenderness.
The movie’s humor is dry and crude smothered with sentimental suspense. The exaggerated situations with genuine characters add another layer to the film’s eccentric tone. The human element is one of the common themes that Wes Anderson refines in his films. The most identifiable quality that he encourages in his actors is confusion, which they use to draw humor and sincere emotion. This technique adds authentic depth to the characters in a not so factual world.
Ralph Fiennes’s character is a man who believes his job is more than just what his titles suggests. He dedicates his life to a profession that he takes as a cultural cornerstone. In the same respect, Wes Anderson has done the same thing in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. He goes above and beyond his typical directing excellence and tells a heartfelt story for someone else and treats it with craft, beauty, and artistic mastery. Quality service is something you’d expect from “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and luxury is what you deserve.