The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Film Review


I had held of watching this film for two reasons: firstly, I didn’t love Wes Anderson’s previous film, Moonrise Kingdom, and was a bit concerned I wouldn’t love this, and I have truly loved many of his previous films; second, I saw a trailer early on and thought that I had seen most of it. I was wrong on both counts. I love it and the trailer actually gave very little away.

Essentially, the film tells the story (in a somewhat convoluted fashion) of a bell boy working at The Grand Budapest Hotel. No, that is not it. There is a lot more, there is theft and betrayal, sex and love, cakes and guns, prison and trains. But to attempt to tell it could give away too much, and it is a story that it is a delight to simply watch unfold. The typical, beautiful style of Wes Anderson is apparently in every shot, and his large cast of some of the most wonderful actors is great. (Although extremely male-heavy, with no really good female roles. Wes Anderson usually does better on this count… shame)

I think that if you do not like Wes Anderson films, you won’t like this one. If you haven’t seen one, perhaps this might be the best to introduce you to him.

The Grand Budapest Hotel won Oscars for Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (Alexandre Desplat) and Best Achievement in Production Design. It was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Wes Anderson), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness).


Amadeus (1984) Film Review


An elderly Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) sits in an asylum after attempting to take his own life. He has lived for years with the knowledge that he was behind the demise of one of the world’s greatest talents. Offloading to a priest, Salieri reveals that he,  thanks to divine intervention, became a composer, offering his music to God. When Mozart (Tom Hulce) arrives in Vienna, Salieri is excited to meet the great man who has been performing and composing across the continent since he was a small child. To his disgust, Mozart is a  repulsive man who adores drink, partying and will not kowtow to his superiors (perhaps because he does not believe he has any superiors).  Salieri attempts to ignore Mozart’s behavious, but finally takes action to rid the world and his own life of this repulsive genius.

I can never get sick of this film. Truly, it is a marvellous work of art. I hope to see it performed as a play one day, but in the meantime, I could watch this again and again. The story itself is spectacular –  ambition, betrayal, religion, sex, alcohol. As  a work of art created in the eighties, this holds up beautifully. The only thing which dates it slightly are the Billy Idol style wigs that the young composer wears, but that is total and utterly nit-picking.

Amadeus won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Lead Role (F. Murray Abraham), Best Director (Milos Forman) Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Peter Shaffer), Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Make-up. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in  a Lead Role (Tom Hulce), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.