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The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

I do think that, for many, The Grand Budapest Hotel will have marked an introduction to film. It did for me, it feels like only days ago that I first watched this Wes Anderson piece, one of the films that started such an unequivocal, feverish interest in the arts. I remember studying this for an A-Level exam some years ago, between this, Reservoir Dogs, and, oddly enough, The Imitation Game, I found an appreciation for a form of art I had only engaged with in passing. It’s a tad embarrassing, to some degree, that this was the film that got me into a wider world of creativity, but there’ll always be a soft spot for this film in my heart.  

The performances throughout get to grips with such unique, charming lavishness, it lingers throughout the entire film. Jude Law’s rather comforting opener and introduction, the regaling of a story that spans facets of the past sounds rather cumbersome, but the strange beauty and grand nature of Anderson’s direction makes for such a light, engaging, but deeply fascinating piece. His use of colour is stark and rather obvious, far more front and centre than any of his other films, whilst his utilisation of lighting and camera angles are simple yet feverishly engaging and tremendously effective.  

With such an amazing blend of humour and dramatics, it’s no surprise that The Grand Budapest Hotel plays so well. I remember this film relying far more on the strengths of Ralph Fiennes, although whilst he is an integral piece of the puzzle, much of the story beats fall on the shoulders of Tony Revolori. His role as Zero is superb, a great abundance of charm is present, matching up with one of Fiennes’ greatest roles to date. It’s a film full of natural talent, everyone comes together to craft incredible performances, Willem Dafoe in a near-wordless role offers up just as much fascinating brilliance as Adrien Brody in a swear-heavy supporting part. 

Comfort food put to film; The Grand Budapest Hotel reminded me just why I’d fallen in love with cinema in the first place. Granted, I’ve come a long way regarding taste and knowledge, but there’s no escaping the roots of which we grow from, and this Anderson piece is one such root I’ll never try and shake. It was an introduction to film that I so desperately needed, the symmetry of the craft, and an array of ensemble touches that bring style and substance crashing together with an admiration I hold for few films still. Sometimes, when we’re burnt out or feeling under the weather, we need to remind ourselves that, once we bounce back, we’re exactly where we need to be. Soppy, I know, but this comfort film brings out the brighter side of me, something I hope to put an end to as quickly as possible.  

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Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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