The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M starting pitcher/relief pitcher Emiley Kennedy (11) hands the ball to starting pitcher/relief pitcher Brooke Vestal (19) during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies’ comeback falls short in 9-8 loss to Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 25, 2024

As the fifth inning drew to a close in Texas A&M softball’s Super Regional matchup with No. 1 Texas on Saturday, the Aggies found themselves...

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Movie Review: Characters transcend imagination

The Grand Budapest Hotel immerses the audience in a lavish world on the brink of war.
Wes Anderson’s film absolutely delights as the splendor of an imagined world meets the quirks of the human experience. Hilarity is created through a band of larger-than-life characters, which are still real enough to form a connection with the audience.
Anderson attempted to create this experience in some of his earlier films such as Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox. However, those attempts fall short when compared to the masterpiece that is The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The story begins in present day at the foot of a statue commemorating the famous deceased author Tom Wilkinson. After leaving a key on the statue, a young girl begins to read Wilkinson’s book The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The film flashes back to 1985 where Wilkinson introduces the story. With a stiff eloquence, Wilkinson explains that he was inspired to write the book after his visit to the Grand Budapest years before. His stuffy introduction is interrupted by a little boy shooting him with a toy gun. This comical disruption sets the tone for the film by illustrating the loss of classic elegance at the hands of a new era.
The story then moved to 1968 where a young Wilkinson, played by Jude Law, figuratively gives a brief tour of the dilapidated Grand Budapest. From the cramped lobby to the disinterested concierge, the audience is shown that the Grand Budapest has passed her prime. In the unkempt Turkish baths Wilkinson meets the owner of the hotel, M. Moustafa, played by F. Murray Abraham. Later that evening over a shared dinner, Moustafa entertains his memories of the Grand Budapest.
Moustafa begins the now tale of a tale within a tale in 1932. At the heart of everything is the genuine concierge M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes. The elegance that permeates from Gustave’s every action makes one forget that he is part of the staff and not a wealthy patron of the hotel. A romantic poet and a true charmer, Gustave is absolutely irresistible to the rich old women who sojourn to the Grand Budapest.
Gustave is starkly juxtaposed to the new lobby boy Zero, played by Tony Revolori. Zero is a Middle Eastern refugee who fled to the fictional European country, Republic of Zubrowska after the slaying of his family. The post-pubescent Zero, who pencils on a moustache, shadows Gustave during a trial period for the hotel staff. Zero is all subtleties compared to Gustave’s flourished manner. Revolori’s telltale eyes and deadpan delivery provide an amusing balance to Fiennes’ over-the-top charm. As the story begins to unfold, a mentorship blossoms into an unlikely friendship between Gustave and Zero.
Zero informs Gustave of the death of one of his lovers, the 84-year-old Madame D., played by Tilda Swinton, after seeing the news on the front page of the newspaper. The characters arrive to Madam D.’s estate just in time for her attorney Deputy Kovaks, played by Jeff Goldblum, to name Gustave the heir to the priceless painting “Boy with Apple.” When Madame D.’s son Dmitri, played by Adrien Brody, and his henchman Jopling, played by Willem Dafoe, accuse Gustave of foul play, he and Zero make off with the painting.
The story shifts its gear into a fast-paced murder-mystery when it is revealed that Madam D. died a wrongful death. Gustave and Zero are forced to go on the run after a confrontation with the ZZ, the military police which is comparable to Adolph Hitler’s SS.
The rest of the film was a commotion of disguises, prison escapes, chase scenes and the growing presence of the ZZ, all studded with celebrity cameos. All the action was complemented perfectly by the love story of Zero and the radiant Agatha, played by Saoirse Ronan. Agatha, who Gustave describes as having “an enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half of her face,” puts her talents as a pastry chef to peculiar uses in the film to help save the day.
Anderson has stitched together the various aspects of The Grand Budapest so beautifully that one forgets that the former Republic of Zubrowska is an imaginary place. The film is a feast for the eyes. From the radiant colors to the masterful camera work, there is constant visual delight. The sound selection also superbly accompanies the scenes. It carries the scenes to a peak and brings them to a dead halt in silence.
The real jewels of the film cannot be praised enough. The actors so perfectly inhabit their characters that they transcend the boundaries of imagination and become real and relatable. Each part, no matter how brief, is essential to the tapestry of the story.
The film is enjoyable and has layers of appeal for anyone from a casual moviegoer to an art film enthusiast.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *