Humour and satire in Central Europe

The Grand Budapest Hotel Fox Searchlight Rating: 14A 99 minutes

Avoiding the lineups for the latest in the Captain America franchise, this reviewer instead took in The Grand Budapest Hotel. This was done with some trepidation as Wes Anderson movies are not highly regarded personally, but this film was thoroughly enjoyable.

Ralph Fiennes plays the famous concierge of a fictitious hotel in a fictitious country between the wars who is accused of murdering one of his favourite guests. He was respected and loved for his ability to satisfy any need or whim (sexual or otherwise) of the hotel’s guests. With the help of his new lobby boy (Tony Revolori) he escapes his accusers on a merry chase through a satirized Central Europe of the 30s.

Writer/director Anderson makes offbeat films (Moonrise Kingdom) which viewers tend to love or hate. He has a unique sense of film humour, that sometimes works against him. But here his wit, satire and unique visual style combine almost perfectly. In his earlier films he did not seem to be able to balance his aspirations and his achievements, but here he carrys it off very well.

A beautiful film to watch (the art direction, colour and camerawork are excellent), you can also enjoy the performances of a long list of celebrity actors in small roles, everybody from Edward Norton and Willem Dafoe to Jude Law and a barely recognizable Tilda Swinton, as well as Anderson regulars like Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. Altogether, it is a delightful movie experience.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.