In this movie we listen to, through the words of a writer, the tale of M. Gustave, the selfish and vain genius concierge of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and his lobby boy Zero Moustafa. Everything is going splendidly in the Grand Budapest Hotel until M. Gustave is accused of murdering one of his lovers. Then it is up to Moustafa and Gustave to clear his name.
Yes. A movie this time. At least that’s what I thought until I actually began watching. Apparently though, whatever I do I can’t seem to escape books. Watching this movie felt like reading a really good book, and not just because of the humorous and clever narration but also because of the little details. You find those kind of details in books – noticing ones that escaped your attention are what makes re-reading so great.
However, this movie was also great as a movie (that sentence does not make sense). It had an amazing cast… It really feels like it must have been fun to be on this set, since outcome was so fun. That’s the mood I picked up from the actors, anyway. Or maybe that was my own happiness.
It also had something books lack – an amazing soundtrack. Sure, you can always listen to music while reading, but it’ll never be the same as hearing a character’s theme when you meet him for the first time in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” And when the soundtrack is this good – so good that you actually acknowledge the soundtrack as a separate thing, that you actually say “I want to keep listening to this soundtrack after the movie’s over.” – that’s when you really begin enjoying the movie.
The absurdities and the quirky characters are what makes “The Grand Budapest Hotel” a comedy. You see the coldblooded Zero Moustafa acting on his logic, even advising M. Gustave on what they should do, but realize that he is also a teenager (and an awkward one at that) and that he harbors an incredible amount of love for his girlfriend. Then you see the calculating and sly M. Gustave bravely and kindly defending Moustafa when he is questioned about the validity of his immigration. All these unreal characters take part in ridiculous yet fun events, and you find yourself smiling at both the absurdity and the sheer funniness of it all.
This was my first Wes Anderson movie. Next on my list is “Moonrise Kingdom.”
(Oh and, this movie was inspired by Zweig, whom I’ve never read. Maybe I should add him to my reading list as well.)