April 21, 2014

Backwards and back further


The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014). Who said that you have to love all of Wes Anderson or none of it? I don’t buy that. It can sometimes be too twee, too intricate, too in love with its production design, but I liked the smart comedy of The Fantastic Mr Fox and I like The Grand Budapest Hotel even more. Its nods toward melancholic mood are never that persuasive – it’s much better as flat-out middle-Europe screwball, with those blink-and-miss-them Anderson details (newspapers called the Trans-Alpine Yodel and, in the communist era, the Daily Fact). Ralph Fiennes is in very good comic form as Gustave, the hotel concierge, and it would be bad manners to suggest that Anderson could lose some of his passengers (okay, since you asked: Owen Wilson). I didn’t see what others saw in Moonrise Kingdom, but the Anderson experience is a highly subjective one and even when you don’t like the films, you admire his singular vision or ambition. Anyway, his best since Rushmore. For the ski chase alone.