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Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel


Two years after the quietly affecting Moonrise Kingdom, a film which highlighted the best aspects of Wes Anderson’s work (visual composition, whimsy, formal symmetry redefining the objects of childhood) while moving away from his sometimes stuffy pretentiousness, The Grand Budapest Hotel doubles down on rigid, intricate, potentially suffocating framing only to open up the seems a little and air out some of Anderson’s internal demons. Admittedly, it sacrifices some of the childlike whimsy which highlighted his last two films, Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox, for a more openly stylized, boxy, comedic farce that still maintains a deceptively sweet center. Yet, repeat viewings bear a different beast than the clinical monstrosity it initially feigns, revealing more about Anderson’s intent and the complexities lying within the dense yet cavernous hotel of the film’s title. This may not be Anderson at his finest, but it’s a stirring example of his filmmaking prowess which lies comfortably within his canon and carves out its own temperamental niche. Around the mid-2000s, it seemed as if Anderson was simply content repeating himself, but this late career renaissance has proven not only that he won’t rest on his laurels but that he is actively invested in a bifurcated, simultaneous self-critique and a lovely pushing of his aesthetic as far as it can possibly take him.

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