The Grand Budapest Hotel (15)

Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric
Showing at FACT from March 7th 2014

Reviewed by Darren Guy

“You’re looking so well, darling! I don’t know what sort of cream they put on you down at the morgue, but I want some.” says Monsieur Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel to the corpse of his 84-year-old lover Madame Celine Villeneuve Desguffe und Taxis (Tilda Swinton).

The Grand Hotel Budapest stands out perched on the top of a huge rock, surrounded by mist, and mountains accessible only by the funicular train. It's a shadow of its former glory - cracked walls, rundown Turkish baths, bored staff and overall faded grandeur. Not like the popular dolls house hotel in the 1930s, with its eccentric guests, colourful carpets, tiny red elevators, purple uniforms, golds and pinks.

It’s the 1960s. Up pops a head out the Turkish baths, the elusive owner, once, and the lobby boy. And we are transported back to 1932 and the excitement begins.

Gustave H is the former concierge at the hotel. He runs the Grand Budapest with an iron rod - everyone knows their place. He treats all his female customers with the loving attention they require. Along comes the new lobby boy with Gustave taking him under his wing, telling him everything he knows.

The Hotel Budapest is a very entertaining film, Fantastic cinematography, scenery, steeped in history and colours. Its characters are funny and it captures perfectly the decline of empire, glory and maybe humanity. The film is fast and at times extremely funny.

My only criticism is for me is it slipped a bit too much into fantastical fantasy, and the tempo of the film increased too soon, so much so that if you blinked you could miss something. The first two thirds of the film were excellent, but during the last third the film waned, like a script that was made up as it went along. Well worth a visit to the FACT to see it though.

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