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article imageReview: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is worth checking into Special

By Kristal Cooper     Mar 14, 2014 in Entertainment
You can always tell a Wes Anderson film a mile away. His kooky alternate universe take on real world issues is often polarizing for viewers who either love to retreat into his fairy tale-like yarns or who just can't tolerate his very singular vision.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film that turns the Anderson aesthetic up to 11, will be no exception, although its slapstick-y adventure story framework may prove to be more accessible for the unconverted even despite the fact that the film boasts a much darker edge than any of the filmmaker's previous works.
Told to the audience as a story within a story within yet another a story, the action takes place in and around a world-renowned hotel in the fictional Central European nation of Zubrowka. It's 1932 and war is brewing. A swarthy young refugee named Zero (Tony Revolori) takes a job as a lobby boy under the tutelage of Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the hotel's chief concierge and the reason that the hotel is famous for its superlative service — especially amongst lonely, monied older women.
When one of those women, a widowed octogenarian named Madame D (Tilda Swinton), mysteriously dies shortly after her final visit to the Grand Budapest, Gustave and Zero head to the funeral only to find out that the wealthy socialite has left Gustave a famously valuable work of art called Boy With Apple. This enrages Madame D's blowhard son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) and thus begins an elaborate madcap tale peppered with murder, mayhem, chicanery and romance all played out as the winds of war blow ominously through Europe.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the type of film that can be enjoyed on several different levels. First and foremost, it's a rip-roaring story peopled with Anderson's stable of reliable performers (Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum, and Willem Dafoe to name just a few) who navigate his funhouse with ease and humour. Second and perhaps most importantly, the film makes a subtle but pointed comment on Nazi-occupied Europe and the toll that dangerous ideologies can take on daily life. In fact, the film's allusions to the seizure of property and artworks throughout Europe by Nazis (although not really the Nazis, this is Wes Anderson's reality remember) is far more affecting and disturbing than George Clooney's film The Monuments Men, which focused solely on that subject matter and treated it in a much more serious manner.
It's just these sort of layers and nuances that make The Grand Budapest Hotel ideal for multiple viewings and ultimately worth rushing out to the theatre this weekend — without reservation.
The Grand Budapest Hotel opens on March 14, 2014
Follow Kristal Cooper on Twitter @mskristalcooper
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