Viewed – 21 February 2015 online-rental
I didn’t have a clue what to expect from this. I had heard that director Wes Anderson had his own unique style, that it starred one of my favourite actors, Ralph Fiennes and had been widely acclaimed and nominated for several Oscars. So I thought … it has to be worth checking out.
Narrated by an ageing hotel owner recanting his exploits as a bell boy taken under the wing of a charismatic and respected concierge, Mr Gustave (Fiennes) who following a wealthy woman’s mysterious death, comes into possession of a priceless painting and the disdain of her greedy family, headed by a snarling Adrian Brody. So follows a very entertaining ‘caper’ comedy as we follow an unlikely duo through various adventures.
Wes Anderson has presented here a real spectacle of a movie… it’s shot with a style that echoes the avant-garde look of French cinema ala Jean-Pierre Jaunet (Amelie, Delicatessen) mixed with the flourishes of Baz Lurhman (Moulin Rouge) via the technical perfection of Stanley Kubrick to create one of the best looking movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s also for the most part presented in old-school 4:3 ratio, like that Oscar magnet The Artist and it works very well indeed. There is more character and personality in any five minutes here than most movies have in their entire running time. Also we get a wealth of famous faces all doing their bit in small but enjoyable roles from Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum and Saoirse Ronan to Bill Murray. Add to this a great villainous turn by Willem Defoe … and this has it all. The story is fun and energetic and held together by a brilliant where-has-he-been Ralph Fiennes as the camp, poetic and lovable Mr Gustave – surely one of the most memorable characters in a while.
I had a great time with this, and it’s made me an instant fan of Wes Anderson – I love directors with such visionary appeal. Essential viewing.
Verdict: 5 /5