In the Republic of Zubrowka, a European alpine state ravaged by war and poverty, a young writer (Jude Law) discovers that the remote mountainside hotel has fallen on hard times. Many of its lustrous facilities are now in a poor state of repair, and its guests are few. The writer encounters the hotel’s elderly owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), one afternoon, and they agree to meet later that evening. Over dinner in the hotel’s enormous dining room, Mr. Moustafa tells him the tale of how he took ownership of the hotel and why he is unwilling to close it down. The story begins in 1932 during the hotel’s glory days when the young Zero (Tony Revolori) was a lobby boy. Zubrowka is on the verge of war, but this is of little concern to Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), the Grand Budapest’s devoted concierge. The owner of the hotel is unknown and only relays important messages through lawyer Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum). When he is not attending to the needs of the hotel’s wealthy clientele or managing its staff, Gustave courts a series of aging women who flock to the hotel to enjoy his “exceptional service”. One of the ladies is Madame Céline Villeneuve “Madame D” Desgoffe und Taxis (Tilda Swinton), and Gustave spends the night with her prior to her departure. One month later, he is informed that Madame D has died under mysterious circumstances. Taking Zero along, he races to her wake and the reading of the will, where Kovacs, coincidentally the executor of the will, reveals that she had bequeathed Gustave Boy with Apple, a very valuable painting, in her will. This enrages her family, all of whom hoped to inherit it. Her son, Dmitri Desgoffe und Taxis (Adrien Brody) lashes out at Gustave. With the help of Zero, Gustave takes the painting and returns to the Grand Budapest, securing the painting in the hotel’s safe. During the journey, Gustave makes a pact with Zero: in return for the latter’s help, he makes Zero his heir. Shortly thereafter, Gustave is arrested and imprisoned for the murder of Madame D after forced testimony by Serge X (Mathieu Amalric), Madame D’s butler. Zero aids Gustave in escaping from Zubrowka’s prison by sending a series of stoneworking tools concealed inside cakes made by Zero’s fiancée Agatha (Saoirse Ronan). Along with a group of convicts, Gustave digs his way out of his cell. Gustave then teams up with Zero to prove his innocence…

Wes Anderson is a director you either love or hate as I have said before, to be quite blunt. I had a hard time to accept his a bit too ambitious and “smarty pants” hipster sort movies at first, but with “Life Aquatic” and “Moonrise Kingdom” he managed to convince me with his theatrical colourful stories and his attention to details. I reckon “Moonrise Kingdom” is one of his best features, so I had high hopes for “Grand Hotel Budapest” as the positive reviews came pouring in. My first reaction after seeing the “Grand Hotel Budapest” was that is was to be honest a bit boring, stale, too long and it almost felt that he made it with just his left hand. With that I mean the storyline just didn´t engage me at least as his previous movies did. It´s a great cast, but the whole production feels more like an excuse for a fancy dress up party that really leads nowhere and all the characters has this deadpan look on their face throughout the movie. Yes, Fiennes makes an impression as Gustave H with his dry wit and farcical appearance which we are not used to see and it´s always a treat to see so many big names in one movie giving life to all these strange characters. But, to me this became a gigantic fancy soufflé that didn´t contain much more than just sugar in the end. (3 out of 5)

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