In a series of flash backs we meet the Author (Jude Law/Tom Wilkinson) who recalls a trip to the Republic of Zabrowka, venturing to the once renowned, but now dated, Grand Budapest Hotel. An elderly gentleman (F Murray Abraham) sits alone and apart but when later dining with the Author he recounts the tale of an earlier Concierge of the Hotel, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and a Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori). The film proceeds to tell the tale of a Dowager Countess, Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who is subsequently found dead but who gifts a priceless painting in her will, ‘Boy with Apple’, to Gustave. This shock revelation is not well received by her son Dmitri (Adrian Brody) and his loyal henchman, JG Jopling (Willem Dafoe). Many madcap moments thus ensue as the villains attempt to recapture the priceless piece.
I’ll not trouble you further with other aspects of the plot as you should take the time to revel in the telling of the story as it unfolds. Although there are numerous cameo appearances from a range of notable actors, this is Ralph Fiennes’ film. His precise, clipped, well intentioned turn is a revelation made ever more appealing by his occasional requirement to voice a choice expletive at the most unexpected times. The other actors are mere window dressing against Ralph’s wonderful performance, but it is at this point that I must sadly report that Bill Murray yet again wastes his talent in a minor ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ appearance. Stop dialling in the performance Bill – you are far better than that.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is simply delightful, if you can ignore the Jude Law Lemony Snicket voiceover that is. Oh, and it contains one of the best cliff-hanger moments you’ll have seen in many a long year. Enjoy.
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Jude Law
Release Date: 7th March