Film #130: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

gbhDirector: Wes Anderson
Language: English and some French and German
Length: 100 minutes
Watched on: 26 Nov 2014

This film was my first foray into the world of renting DVDs in Japan. I’d heard about it favorably earlier last year, so I thought it was a reasonable choice.

I’m already a bit ambivalent about Wes Anderson’s work. His metaphors are blunt, and the cinematography is obsessively exacting, if visually arresting. This film pretty much confirmed those biases: after the excessive amount of perfectly composed individual frames, I felt like I’d watched some art museum exhibit, not a movie. It actually felt disorienting  afterwards.

As for the story, it was a fun caper across interbellum Europe – or actually probably during the war, but a mishmash of the two wars. It was also set in a fictional country that was an ersatz Prussia or some other Eastern European fiefdom.

But aside from that it was enjoyable to watch, I can’t now remember any other major details of the story. Most of it was inconsequential details like a MacGuffin, which I think is what drives the story. An honorable technique with a long history in filmmaking, no doubt, but not one that makes for a memorable story.

That’s basically it. Reasonably funny, but annoying cinematography and ultimately unmemorable. If you don’t hate Anderson, might be worth a watch.

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