Sunday, July 27, 2014

What happens when an American makes a European movie? The Grand Budapest Hotel

As you watch The Grand Budapest Hotel for a few minutes, you realise that the European scenes and the European characters are being handled by an American. There is a certain overt indulgence in the characters, a literary stilt and some grandiose, faux existential observations.
The colours are gaudy enough, the view of the hotel from the outside is certainly one of cardboard.


The story is really a jaunt, with a little too many turns and twists, and quite a bit of fun thrown into it. Wes Anderson, the American director of the film, who is from Texas, acknowledges the Hungarian writer Stefan Zweig's writings to be the inspiration of the film,
and the film becomes a little plausible after knowing this fact because Zweig was the popular European writer and not the serious European writer, and most English-speaking and English-reading public are stuck with those serious European writers. Even after getting to know the Zweig connection, the film remains quite unsatisfactory because it seems that the European bit is a little too thickly spread.
There is a mock-thriller ring to it where the murder of an old rich woman with the missing will, the dandy son and heir raging like a dandy and behaving like a fool, the customary mysterious killer,
the hotel network become too burdensome. Wes Anderson is too keen not to leave anything to chance. So the parody format of the story quite earnestly. As a result, there is neither charm nor wit in the whole Anderson exercise. It is like school boys doing Hamlet.

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