Reviews: The Grand Budapest Hotel

A Labyrinthesque Mess

I'll just come out and say it, for it must be said: this film is extremely bizarre.

The cast is pretty good: Ralph Fiennes delivers a very engaging performance that reminds one of David Niven, and everyone else, while never amazing, aren't bad either. The endless cameos (most of which I missed) are sort of pointless, but that's the worst you can say about them; the movie surely wasted half its budget on them, but they're easily ignored.

Alexandre Desplat's music is what it always is: there's one or two really great themes in there (Zero's Theme comes to mind), and the rest is just bland musical whitenoise. Bah. Take it for what it's worse. Again, unremarkable but not distracting.

The great flaw of the film is its storyline, which genuinely feels like a bad dream. The film hardly ever explains anything, or introduce its characters in a discernible way (starting with the villain, who utterly fails to make an impression; I don't believe I ever truly got what his name or personality was). Gustave and Zero seem to flailing about in a situation as murky and sticky as an ocean of stale porridge. About the only time you can *properly* follow what's going on is in the prison sequence, and only because it is solely rooted in a collection of tired tropes and clichés.

The film is sometimes described as a "comedy", which it only is in places. The 'shock humor' is more distasteful than anything else and drags the whole thing down, although other parts, such as the ascension into the mountain *can* get a smirk.

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a theoretically impressive film that ends up being mostly dull. Which is too bad. With some rewrites and a less distracted direction, it could genuinely have been great.