First Hit: A very whimsical fun film that also has a little darkness.
Wes Anderson has the ability to create sets and scenes that float magically in one’s mind between silly and serious (think of the scene with each person dining at their own table in this well appointed dining room).
It is a whimsical, almost in a silly way, to show how people are so separate from each other. The story in this film is being retold by the Lobby Boy (“Mr. Moustafa” – F. Murray Abraham) who ended up owning this old historic hotel which is definitely on its down-side. Back in the day, the famous concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and the Lobby Boy (“Zero” – Tony Revolori) got ahold of a famous painting left to him by Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). But her son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) doesn’t want Gustave to have any of his mother’s possessions.
To add to the dynamics of the film, Anderson mixes war (WWII) in to this story. As you watch the film, becoming engaged, Wes throws in a levels of whimsy by showing you things like a ski chase scene that is totally unrealistic, however it is perfect for the overall film and story. Anderson also has the ability to have small integral parts filled by big name actors (like Edward Norton and Bill Murray) which make this film work amazingly well.
Fiennes is great and perfect for this part. His intelligent humor and wit are perfect for Gustave. Revolori is remarkable as the Lobby Boy wanting to follow in his bosses footsteps. Swinton is not recognizable as a wealthy and very old Madame. Willem Dafoe is great as the sinister Jopling. Jeff Goldblum is wonderfully commanding as Deputy Kovacs. Harvey Keitel is perfect as Ludwig a prisoner. Bill Murray is strong as M. Ivan. Edward Norton is sublime as Henkels. Saoirse Ronan is superb as the Lobby Boy’s girlfriend Agatha. Abraham is wonderfully engaging as the aged Lobby Boy. I could go on but it isn’t necessary. Wes Anderson wrote and directed this film with just the right touch of amusement, storytelling, and amazing sets.
Overall: This film was fun to watch and interestingly crafted.