The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson’s films often dwell on worlds within worlds: grand houses, fox dens, submarines. So it seems appropriate that he should turn his delicate gaze to a hotel: the ultimate embodiment of secret worlds in public spaces. Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, the story unfolds like a Russian doll, told in the first instance by an author (Law), interviewing Zero Mustafa, a one-time lobby boy and now proprietor of the crumbling titular establishment.
Ralph Fiennes’ Gustave H was the previous owner, whose inheritance of a priceless painting sets the shaggy dog story in motion. More surprising is the subject matter: behind the predictably whimsical yarn of a hotel concierge on the run lies a darker tale of pre-war Europe, a land of intrigue, disease, love and bubbling violence. Tilda Swinton makes a brief appearance as wealthy dowager Madame D., the name perhaps a nod to Max Ophüls’ The Earrings of Madame de..., a similarly stately and moving story of a world of finery on the edge of extinction. [Sam Lewis]