The Grand Budapest Hotel (movie review)

As Wes Anderson films are a comedy genre unto themselves, they can really only be compared to each other. As unfair as that may be, it’s apparent that The Grand Budapest Hotel , while an entertaining film, falls short of expectations.

A filmmaker by any other name would get showered with roses for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but Wes Anderson will most likely receive only a "It’s not as good as The Royal Tenenbaums." This might be true, but it’s hardly fair – and I’m certainly guilty of this sin. (I also don’t think it’s as good as Life Aquatic, which I suppose is worth mentioning.)

As for the film itself, it’s full of excellent performances – just watch the cast fly by at the end of the trailer and imagine I’m over you’re should saying, "They’re great in this," after each name flicks past, because that’s the reality of the situation. Still, I must mention that despite the wonderful performances, the characters felt hollow to me. I just didn’t really connect with anyone. There’s lot of funny moments and lines, but it just didn’t grab me.

The movie has lots of the usual Wes Anderson visuals: a book, title cards, miniatures that aren’t supposed to look real… and so on. If you forgot, as soon as the movie starts, you’ll say to yourself, "Yep, it’s a Wes Anderson movie."

As much as I love Tom Wilkinson, F. Murray Abraham and Jude Law, the narration devise wasn’t working for me when they shifted to the visual narration – the voice over was fine, but maybe it was those shifting aspect ratios that kept throwing me for a loop. I’m not sure why they were necessary – I think I would have been fine with two aspect ratios… but I think there were four? I presume the idea of showing the 1930s in a 3×4 window box was that there was no wide screen back then, but I really have no idea. Anyway, I didn’t need an additional aspect ratio for the girl with the book at the statue – I can say that for sure.

Maybe I’ll feel differently after a second viewing, but for now, The Grand Budapest Hotel strikes me as merely a ‘good’ Wes Anderson film and not a great one. I’ll say 8 out of 10 for this flick.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on March 17, 2014, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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