Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

The Grand Budapest Hotel (R)

Directed by: Wes Anderson
Starring: Ralph Fiennes
March 2014

This review was originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appears @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation. The original tweets appear in black, while follow-up comments appear in red. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!

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The opening matte paintings have a Mr. Rogers charm.
Something about the way the little tram moves up the model reminds me of the cheesy miniature sets seen on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS.

Law dines with Abraham, who regales the story of the early days of the hotel.
Which, along with some minor crosscutting back to the present, constitutes the bulk of the film.

The reading of the will and a round of punches. A lot of fuss over “Boy With Apple.”
The Green Goblin lands the final blow…of course.

Elaborate breakout sequence is amusing.
I don’t think it’s possible to devise a more indirect route for escaping a prison. And once free, everyone would stand around and talk for a few minutes, right? Hilarious!

A second copy of the second will...quite the confession.

Old style filming on the ski chase is hilarious.
The increased film speed has a silent era feel akin to the Keystone Cops movies.

Final analysis: not as endearing as
Moonrise Kingdom, but a fine effort in its own right.

3 out of 4 stars. A zany tale with a fine lead performance by Fiennes.

Enjoyably outlandish, this movie is vintage Anderson. It has all of the hallmarks that have come to define the auteur’s style: quirky characters, decorated ensemble, ornate dialog, stylish camerawork, lavish locations and high production values. Though a million miles apart thematically, this film actually boasts a narrative structure similar to the one employed in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010). Just as Nolan’s preeminent mind-trip featured a plot with multiple layers, this movie also follows different sets of characters (real and fictitious) through different periods of time. The film’s denouement seamlessly progresses forward through the levels until we’re back in the present, which is where the film began. It’s a clever framing device, brilliantly conceived and executed by Anderson and co-writer Hugo Guinness. Bottom line, if you’re in the mood for something outside the box, this film should do rather nicely.