The Grand Budapest Hotel Blu-Ray Review

Wes Anderson has earned a reputation as a great filmmaker, after such critical successes as the classic Rushmore and cult hit The Royal Tenenbaums. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest in his oeuvre and offers up a nostalgic world, replete with intricate sets, sharp wit, a pacy plot, and a fantastic cast. It’s now out on Blu-ray and DVD, so why is it worth a watch?

What’s It About? The Grand Budapest Hotel has an epic legacy, but its best days are behind it. In modern-day fictional land Zubrowka, a girl reads a book by The Author, who once stayed in the hotel during its latter days and knew the last concierge, Zero Moustafa. As he gets to know Zero, he discovers the story of how he became the concierge and why he refuses to sell the hotel despite its few guests and slow dilapidation. The story follows the Hotel through its prime and introduces the viewer to legendary concierge Gustav H. As Zubrowka teeters on the edge of war, Gustav H, Zero, and the Grand Budapest itself are embroiled in murder, mystery, theft, betrayal and a race against time.

Verdict: Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is an eccentric exercise in nostalgia, an indulgence in whimsy, and an aesthetic marvel. Following the glory days of legendary concierge Gustav H and his trusted lobby boy Zero, the film is a farcical comedy with extra bite. Delivered in pastel tones and extravagant sets, intricate costumes, pitch-perfect comedy, lyrical dialogue, and ultimately a melancholic ending, the film is one of Wes Anderson’s best and a must-watch for film lovers.

The cinematography manages to be both quirky and masterful, with beautiful sets, exquisite framing, and fast-paced camera moves that capture the sense of this world so wonderfully. Anderson also manages to capture a sense and energy that is unique to films made before CGI. The effects are rudimentary, sometimes comical, but rarely anything other than gorgeous. Coupled with the fluid, perfectly-timed dialogue, there is a truly rare feel to this film. The cast take it to the next level. The wit and cheekiness of Ralph Fiennes’s character is a great match for the more gentle, melancholic character of Zero, played by Tony Revolori. Secondary characters like Saoirse Ronan’s Agatha conjure up real empathy in the viewer and colourful villains like Adrien Brody’s Dmitri are wonderfully characterful.

The feel of the film is topped off by Alexandre Desplat’s masterful composition, combining a  mix of folk sounds and orchestral highs to create a pacy score that captures an old world feel. Complementing the setting of the story, the music embodies everything from jazzy beats to folksy motifs, from dreamy melodies to dark pieces with real menace. If the aesthetic of the film was unique and gorgeous, it’s hard to imagine it without the fitting music.

Extras: Making of featurettes and vignettes about the town of Zubrowka make up most of the extras, but they add enough to the film to satisfy fans.

Final Words: If you’re already a fan of Wes Anderson, you’ll love this, and if you’re not a fan of Anderson, you’re about to become one. Witty, sharp, quirky, beautiful, pacy, melancholic, and nostalgia-driven, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a rare film that tugs on the heart-strings, tickles the funny bones, offers up a feast for the senses, and makes you want to watch again.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.