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Movies Ashdoc's Movie Review---The Grand Budapest Hotel


Movie Critic
Jul 19, 2011
'The grand Budapest hotel' does invoke nostalgia for the old times . Those times are long gone---trampled by nazi jackboots and later crushed by the dead hand of communism , for Budapest in this movie is a metaphor for central Europe ; Budapest being the capital of central European nation of Hungary .

But for those who want to relive the old times---those times are all over the movie . Times of a grand hotel with impeccably well mannered staff oozing old world charm . Times of impossibly rich blonde lady guests getting such great personal service that it extended to having a good time in bed with the concierge of that grand hotel . And the concierge being a thorough gentleman---not blackmailing them but being ever so discreet , to the point that he refuses to name the lady client as alibi in a murder charge against him even though the murder occurred at the same time when the lady was with him .

So who is this thorough gentleman ?? He is Monsieur Gustave , played by Ralph Fiennes . He runs the grand Budapest hotel in a fictitious central european country in flamboyant fashion , oblivious to the coming world war that is about to erupt around him . And the very fact that he is oblivious of that coming world war makes him ' a glimmer of civilization in the barbaric slaughterhouse that we know as humanity ' . For he tries to live life with honesty and justice---being kind to his dependents as well as being strict with them , welcoming that dependent without distinction of race or religion , and honoring blood pacts made with a that dependent even though his life is on the line .

And who is that dependent ? He is Zero Moustafa ( played by Tony Revolori ) , a refugee from another fictitious middle eastern country . He is the bellboy of the grand Budapest hotel , who shares his boss's adventures in the movie .

Those adventures consist of Gustave being framed in a murder charge of an old lady who has bequeathed a very expensive old painting to Gustave . And then Gustave and the ever loyal Moustafa running from the police to prove Gustave's innocence . And also running to protect themselves from the old lady's unscruplous relatives who want to lay their hands on the painting at all costs---even ready to kill and miame anyone crossing their path .

So do Gustave and Moustafa succeed in getting the painting ?? And do they succeed in freeing Gustave from the murder charge ?? Who gets to inherit the old lady's property in the end ??
Watch the movie for that...

But are the above questions important ?? The painting and the murder charge and the old lady's property is trivial in comparison to the tidal wave of war that is about to erupt around the characters . The adventures of Gustave and Moustafa seem so corny compared to the tidal wave of the history of those times .

And the intention of the director is to be deliberately corny---it is the irreverence and the corniness that gives humour to the film . History is all around them---in the newspapers the bellboy Moustafa delivers , whenever their train is stopped by nazi sounding officers , and when their hotel is taken over by soldiers .

Yet the characters are in their own world---Gustave and the relatives are fighting over the painting and the will , Moustafa has fallen in love with a girl with a curious Mexico shaped scar on her face , and Moustafa has the chutzpah to warn Gustave not to practice his charms on his girlfriend !!

Maybe the director wanted to show that people tried to go on with their lives even though all hell was going to break loose around them .

Or maybe the director has the heart of a liberal . Maybe he wanted to show that good people are people who welcome refugees ( like Moustafa ) from middle eastern countries with open arms , that good people are those who co exist with immigrants from Mexico .

And Ralph Fiennes plays that good man to perfection . His character's image remains nice in our mind even though he indulges in debauchery---sleeping with both geriatric female guests and male guests too . That's because he plays his role wittily and funnily and above all with practiced charm .

Revolori almost matches Fiennes in his acting . The capers in the movie ( like the escape from the prison , and the murderous chase down a skiing slope ) are humorous rather than heart pounding , and keep the entertainment alive . Also humorous are many of the dialogues and situations in the movie .

And yet the climax of the film leaves you with a lump in your throat . Isn't that just perfect ??

Well , I don't know if it is perfect , but it is a different movie than the ones I have seen in the past . And I liked the difference....

Verdict---Good .

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