Gustave H (played by Ralph Fiennes) is the supremely professional and discrete concierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a salubrious establishment in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, well known for its service, opulence and range of eccentric guests. During the difficult years between World Wars 1 and 2, the Hotel is continuing on despite the difficult political times. Gustave has a young protege, Zero Moustafa (played by Tony Revolori, then F. Murray Abraham), who is keen to learn. He hangs on Gustave’s every word and quickly picks up the skills of his trade. After a visit from a particularly long-standing guest with very special service requirements, Gustave gets himself into a spot of bother over a “Boy with an Apple”. He must act on his wits and rely on his trusty colleague, Moustafa, to keep him from even worse trouble, which leads them into a range of sticky situations.
I found this movie a bit hard-going. Yes, it’s great to see all the fabulous well known performers in their curious roles here – and I’m sure they would have had a hugely entertaining time when they made this. However, I didn’t find it hugely entertaining. There are animations, graphics, special costumes and sub-titles to add to the whole feel of the movie, which have been recognised in a range of awards. Ralph Feinnes does play Gustave H. very well and his insistence on utter politeness and protocol in every life situation, regardless of what may be going on around him, is endearing and amusing. As Zero, Tony Revolori is very good. The rest of the totally inter-galactic cast of support stars are okay as they provide their various contributions – some feature much more than others. I didn’t recognise Tilda Swinton, but that’s often the case for me with her work. Overall, it’s okay – perhaps this genre of movie just isn’t for me.
Made in 2014. Directed by Wes Anderson