This is a film that is impossible to pigeon hole. Wes Anderson’s latest creation is a dazzling delight. The grand hotel in the title is located in a fictitious European alpine mountain with a lobby boy immigrant from a fictitious country in the East. But the evocation of high society’s grandeur against the hardships of the times is real.
The story centres on M. Gustave H (played by Ralph Fiennes), an idiosyncratic, vain but principled concierge whose class service recalls a time when institutions like The Grand Budapest Hotel were the standard to bear. He takes on a young pupil, the new lobby boy (Tony Revolori) and it is through the lobby boy’s eyes that the story is told. As for the plot? It is everything I love about films: a story within a story, a swashbuckling sweep of adventure, romance, humour, feuds, murder mystery, prison break (every good adventure story in my books need to have a prison break or two) and ski chase.
The film is exactingly stylish and rhythmically rhapsodical. Every frame is planned to the dot. Yet it flows and oozes with nostalgia. It is a film about genteel manners, of a time past. But the film is also about the human bond and loyalty, and that is timeless.