Zero experience. Zero education. Zero family. And tons of charm.
Tony Revolori plays Zero Moustafa – the charming and unassuming new lobby boy at the famous Grand Budapest Hotel in Wes Anderson’s latest flick of the same name. Taking his symmetrical, picturesque, and dollhouse style to a whole different level, Anderson dives headlong into the adventures of Monsieur Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) as he tries to clear the good name he’s built up as the hotel’s legendary concierge.
Set in a fictionalized Europe between the outbreak of two large-scale wars, The Grand Budapest Hotel sets itself up for abrupt comedic impulses nearly from the word go as the opening narrator (Tom Wilkinson) is assailed with a cap gun.
True to Anderson’s form, the story is heavily narrated as the mysterious hotel owner recalls to a young author on holiday (Jude Law as a young Wilkinson) the events by which he acquired the hotel. In due time we are regaled with Fiennes’ tale of murder, intrigue, and slapstick adventure. Fiennes, the beloved concierge of the hotel known for “accommodating” the old, wealthy, female patrons, is sucked into the battle for a family fortune upon the suspected murder of one of his satisfied guests (Tilda Swinton).
Confronted by Swinton’s son, the villainous – and homophobic – Adrien Brody as Dmitri, and his indubitable henchman Jopling (Willem Dafoe), Fiennes is forced to make off with the priceless painting bestowed upon him by the deceased patron’s will. The theft, and attempted recovery, lands Fiennes in a rather precarious situation. But never fear, Revolori, with the help of his budding love Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), is determined to come to his mentor’s aid.
Barreling along with a hefty mix of smart dialogue (almost too smart) and deadpan delivery, The Grand Budapest Hotel lulls you into a false sense of viewing security until someone, notably Fiennes and Brody, explodes with a wholly entertaining and abrupt display of profanity and vitriol.
Fiennes, Revolori, Brody, Dafoe, and Ronan turn in fantastic performances as the quintet at the heart of this offbeat dramedy, with a tremendous supporting cast that includes the likes of F. Murray Abraham (an old Moustafa), Ed Norton (Officer Henckels), and Bill Murray (Monsieur Ivan). Together they treat the audience to a first-class display of acting, liberally coated in the pomp and circumstance that is the cracking veneer of civility. Providing a more macabre comedic relief, Jeff Goldblum takes up the role of estate executor Deputy Kovacs, essentially playing Jeff Goldblum as a meticulous lawyer.
Like the poetry and verse that seem to govern Fiennes’ character, The Grand Budapest Hotel follows the blossoming and romantic notions of friendship and admiration. With copious amounts of charm, and a splash of L’air de Panache, join a humble lobby boy on his journey to trusted friend.