The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★★½

"What is the meaning of this shit?!?!?!?!"

Simply put, this grew on me IMMENSELY on the second watch. I can't believe I thought this story didn't have enough emotional punch, as I got a whole lot of that on this re-watch. Utterly moving, melancholic, vibrant, wistful and hilarious; The Grand Budapest Hotel is the second Wes Anderson (the first being Life Aquatic) film that I have grown to love. I think I've finally come to appreciate Anderson as a filmmaker, and I have a feeling that any repeat viewings of his filmography will bring much more fascination and adoration.

I think the sadness hit me the most this time around. On the first viewing, I found the end to be quite sudden. That was either because I was having way too much fun or I didn't realize the subtle build-up to such a desolate conclusion. Now knowing where the story was going, the film couldn't feel more impeccably paced and precisely calculated. I also love the sharp use of vulgarity in the film. In cinema today, swear words are used so often that I don't even notice them. In Anderson's work, the distinct wording conjures up moments of razor-edged insults that work wonders in context. There's something about Ralph Fiennes saying "Those Fuckers!" in a confession booth that's profoundly hilarious to me.

The visuals are just incredible. There's no other way to describe it. The direction, the cinematography, the music, the editing; It's a visual masterwork that is as vital as anything released this year. Especially in The Grand Budapest Hotel, It feels like Anderson is in more control of every single image than he ever has before. It's a confident and focused film of unparalleled strength. I also love the sense of adventure and escapism along with the melancholy and darker themes that lay within. Chases on skis and through museums, large-scale gunfights, different encounters on multiple beautiful locations; Anderson's film is a 21st century caper that brings modern sensibilities while still evoking a different time and place.

And the cast. Beyond words.

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