*Beloved director, Wes Anderson, is in the headlines once again for his work on "The Grand Budapest Hotel". Find out what loyal fans and newcomers alike can expect from Anderson's latest. * Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" has the storytelling techniques he's is known for —an offbeat sense of humor, distinct visual style and an interconnected sense of place — but the film also breaks brand new ground for the 45-year-old director. The recently released film uses a thoroughly contrived history, a creative use of miniature and an insane-but-genius multiple-frame story that shows an entire world in a few personal perspectives. "Grand Budapest" is familiar and inspired, elaborate and simple. It's the culmination of Wes Anderson's career and represents the most appreciable aspects of his style.
Comparison With Other Anderson Works
Anderson is deservedly beloved, but his career isn't spotless. "The Darjeeling Limited" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou suffered from wandering story lines and unrelatable characters, with grandiose or seemingly inconsequential problems. "Grand Budapest" gives us characters portrayed first as mere caricatures, soon proven deeply emotionally complex having both lovable and laughable qualities, all mindfully working to achieve their own version of a meaningful life. The story in "Grand Budapest" is a character drama carefully layered over a murder-mystery plot that provides the action and high stakes. It's comparable to Anderson's previous film, "Moonrise Kingdom," in which the character drama is heightened by young runaways caught in an increasingly threatening storm. These two films demonstrate that Wes Anderson has honed the craft of using action and suspense to better showcase his characters and increase audience investment.
The "Grand Budapest Hotel" received overwhelmingly positive reviews across the board. Glenn Kenny of Roger Ebert Reviews captured the heart of Wes Anderson's accomplishment perfectly when he wrote, "What [Wes Anderson] does is his own thing, which in terms of achievement is... to conjure poignancy and tragedy in the context of realms spun off from but also fancifully, madly removed from dirt-under-your-fingernails reality." The occasional negative review described the film as self-indulgent and solipsistic, one deeming Wes Anderson's take on Europe and World Wars as "desperately touristy" (New York Post). It's important to remember that Anderson's Europe and history are intentionally and obviously made up. As the New York Times put it, "This movie makes a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures. You can call this escapism if you like. You can also think of it as revenge." Photo Credit: Joel Baker via Flickr.