We all know those grand five star hotels that none of us would ever go to because we can’t afford it- The Plaza Hotel in NY and the Ritz-Carlton to name a few. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” throws all that lavish luxury into a murder mystery and the result is a five star product.
At the once highly respected and now crumbling Grand Budapest Hotel the owner, Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) recounts his youth as a lobby boy to an unnamed reporter (Jude Law.) Here he tells of how the old concierge, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) inherited a painting from the wealthy Madame D (Tilda Schwartzman) and how Madame D’s children framed him of murder. What follows is Gustave, with the help of Zero, trying to clear his name.
The word “grand” perfectly encapsulates the movie. Everything from the sets, the costumes and the acting is grand. The hotel itself is so big and showy that it makes the Plaza Hotel look like a Motel 6. It really brings the viewer into this hotel where only the elite can enter.
That’s not to say the other locations are anything tiny. Madame D’s house this extravagant mansion with many rooms that seem to go on forever. Even the prison where Gustave is being held seems like such a large place even for a prison in a small country.
The acting in this movie is as solid as it comes. Fiennes puts on one of the best performances of his career. His portrayal of Gustave is flamboyant, fast talking, refined with a hint of sarcasm thrown in. He steals any scene he’s in to the point where he can elevate it from an 8 to an 11. When he’s in the shot the movie’s pacing goes from fast to light speed.
Revolori perfectly matches Fiennes’ performance. They have such great chemistry together that it seems like they have been in roles together for years. Revolori pulls off that soft spoken, not quite sure of himself new employee to charming levels. Zero is meant to be Gustave’s exact opposite and with the acting by both leads it just screams perfection.
Not everything is perfect about this movie. The story does lose focus in some places like when Gustave is in prison and we see scenes between Zero and his girlfriend, the pastry shop hand Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) Agatha comes off as a character that was thrown into the plot only for one scene to make any sense. In fact, Ronan does look like she has no idea as to why she’s even in this movie.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a frantic tour de force with great acting and lavish sets and pacing leaves you needing a new engine.
Don’t forget to tip the lobby boy.