Finn Stöhr’s review published on Letterboxd:
I really adore how this movie creates it's own world, and like all of Wes Anderson's films, has a very distinctive tone.
Part 1 - CHARACTERS
Anderson really cares about his characters and who they are. But still at some moments, I would've loved to know a bit more about the them.
Even though a bit more complex roles or just some more explanation here and there would have improved the film in my opinion, I totally understand, why he decided not to do that!
He tells just enough about them, for us staying invested in them and their experiences but not enough to stop asking questions.
I guess he really wants us to do some of the work, trying to figure them out.
Part 2 - THE HOTEL
Let's address the obvious: The 'Grand Budapest' itself!
Most certainly we can all agree, that the Hotel looks incredible! I really like the art style of the film and how it carries the story. Also, I love and always will love the choice of using stop-motion and tiny models for exterior shots, just like the ones from the hotel or the observatory. The set-dressing, choice of colors, shapes, and the entire anatomy of the building with all of its gimmicks is just overwhelming. The amount of creative effort and love for detail that went into this is unbelievable.
Part 3 - THE CINEMATOGRAPHY
The look of the film goes even more hand-in-hand with the lighting, colors, set dressing, costume, and the entire art style than in most other movies that you'll ever see. You don't HAVE to like it, but you have to admit, how impressive and cohesive this thing is. As often before, Anderson really takes advantage of all the different moods and emotions you can create by just changing the color. Often there are scenes that are almost monochromatic.
The Camera is 'Wes-Anderson-style' on sticks or on a dolly the majority of the time, and when it changes to more shaky camera-movement, you can really feel the impact that has. The different kinds movement (Pedestals, tilts, trucks, and especially the pans) are so accurate and 'perfect', that I just sat there, staring at the gorgeous imagery, looking nearly shocked by its beauty.
If you haven't noticed yet, I love the look, nay, the dozens of looks, this movie gives us.
Part 4 - THE STORY
In terms of story - there is no story! Okay... that was a lie. There is a story, a good story to be more precise. But quite frankly the same problem, I already had with some of the characters, I also have with the story in a similar way. I beg your pardon, but in my opinion, the story just scratched the surface often, where it probably could have dove deeper.
A component of mystery and a few more insights would have elevated the story immensely. Also watching the friendship of Zero and Gustave develop is super delightful.
Part 5 - CONCLUSION
Now, to come to a conclusion... how does this film have 4,5 Stars, if I just said, that the movie DOES have a fair amount of issues (f.e. with the story) from my point of view?
The answer is simple: It's fun.
It's such a great and fun film, that you literally forget about most of the problems I pointed out, as soon as the story starts to take place. I was just staring at my screen, trying to find and understand every little detail and figure out, where the whole thing is going, the entire runtime of the film.
All I can tell you finally is that this movie is so good at being itself, that you can easily overlook all the small hiccups and just ENJOY the overall experience this movie provides you with. It may not be everybody's jam and sure, there definitely is lost potential, but if you like Wes Anderson and his movies or just have something for films that march to a different tune, CHECK THIS FILM OUT!