The Grand Budapest HotelThursday 06 Mar 2014
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson.
Duration: 100 minutes
Cut out the movie’s few risqué scenes and that cussing, and The Grand Budapest Hotel could be in The Big Big Movie slot of a Saturday evening.
But I think the kids would hastily return to their Nintendos and iPads, so we are not recommending it to RTÉ bosses either. As for the swear words, when your script is already a limp, unfunny thing, a couple of f**** are always useful.
It’s very much Ralph Fiennes‘ picture, but it does him no favours. Johnny Depp, it seems, was first offered the role, but apparently he was unavailable. His Deppness would have made more sense, in line with that Big Big Movie analogy.
Ralph Fiennes plays Gustave H, the concierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel. His story is told in flashback by Zero Moustafa, former bell-boy and the concierge's loyal friend. Zero is played by Tony Revolori as a young man, F Murray Abraham as the elder.
Zero's story brings us back to the late 1920s/early 1930s in the movie's setting, the fictitious principality of Zubrowka. There is no suggestion that Fiennes’ character is English or has spent time in England. Yet, director Anderson, who wrote the screenplay, has directed Fiennes to play his concierge as an eccentric English aristocrat.
So you get Fiennes’ camp over-politeness and the American tough guy patter of Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody, as two mean individuals on the concierge's trail. Saoirse Ronan plays Agatha, Zero's sweetheart. With a name like Agatha, she is surely not intended to be Irish, yet, oddly, the actress speaks with her Irish accent. Tilda Swinton is just another aristocratic caricature.
Even though we are somewhere in Mitteleuropa between the wars, we are supposed to buy all these different modes of expression - dandified English, Yank tough guy, Irish girl. It makes no sense whatsoever.
What a waste of all those beautiful, Zhivago-like snowy streets and mountainscapes - in other words, the luxuriant, expensive look of a film that is all fur coat etc