I just got back from seeing Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and I'm going to tap out a full review next week, but I wanted to share a few quick thoughts as it's a definite contender for best of 2014.
The best way to describe it is as something of an Agatha Christie story by way of Wes Anderson. It's got all the familiar quirks of an Anderson feature and a bevy of interesting characters with a note just before the credits roll telling us the story was inspired by the 1930s stories and memoirs of Viennese writer Stefan Zweig.
The story is told as one giant flashback by F. Murray Abraham as the elder Zero Moustafa, whom we see through most of the story as his younger self, played by Tony Revolori. Zero is the new lobby boy at the legendary European hotel, the Grand Budapest, where Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) serves as concierge. The film tells of how the Grand Budapest came to be owned by Zero all these years later with a tale of murder and romance at its core.
The visual style is as you'd expect and the miniature designs is wonderful, brought to life through wonderful lighting and production design, and Anderson plays with the film's aspect ratio as he bounces back and forth in time with the story.
Performances from the leads are spot on, Tilda Swinton is unrecognizable and Harvey Keitel and Willem Dafoe bring a lot to the table. Oh, and Alexandre Desplat's score is absolutely perfect, the theme of which runs through the entire film and walks a perfect line of serious and whimsical. Loved it.
As I said, I'll have an official review later (probably repeating myself more than once), for now here's a listen to Desplat's score and the film's trailer.