Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

My new favourite film: The Grand Budapest Hotel

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

This simply has to be my new favourite movie, I absolutely loved every mad minute of it. It is beautiful, funny, smart, silly, sad, and full of fantastic lines delivered by that incredible cast. Even the long end credits are a joy with that zingly balalaika music. It all looks incredible - I don't care whether its a real hotel or CGI every shot of it amazes. 
Ralph Fiennes is our lead - he has been quite quirky of late, with his British Prime Minister in PAGE EIGHT, the bishop in BBC tv series REV, and films like IN BRUGES, he excells himself here as  Gustave H, as we follow the zany antics at the hotel and how he and pals escape from prison. Tilda Swinton is unrecognisable as the aged Countess, and we also get Adrien Brody as her son, Jude Law as the young writer, Harvey Kietel, Willem Dafoe as the unstoppable killer, Saoirse Ronan as Agatha the resourceful girl Zero loves, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and so many more. I barely noticed Owen Wilson or Jeff Goldblum. This is my first Wes Anderson fim - he also scripted, from stories by the great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN and I have his biograhy of Marie Antoinette), so I shall be on the lookout for Anderson's other features. 
The colour and sets are all intoxicating, not only the Hotel but also Mendl's confectionery shop, and that very bleak prison. We follow the adventures of the new lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) who becomes best friends with the mercurial Gustave - F. Murray Abraham as the owner of the hotel recounts the tale to young writer Jude Law and we are off on a whirlwind ride. I shall be checking in to the Hotel again before too long.  


  1. Beautiful, brilliant film. Saw it for the first time on Sunday (picked it up on DVD for just £4) and like you instantly fell for it and reviewed it.

  2. Yes, I saw your review the other day and it made me determined to get the dvd off the shelf where its been since it came out. its a marvellous experience and a movie to return to. I am now equally stunned by Almodovar's THE SKIN IN LIVE IN and Sorrentino's THE GREAT BEAUTY - two more riveting experiences.