Dir- Wes Anderson
Year – 2014
Running Time – 99 Mins
Screen writing Genre – (Epic) Buddy Love
Wes Anderson’s 2014 tale of fantasy and whimsy is a refreshing and original story told expertly. The critics loved it and it picked up numerous nominations for best film across the board. Perhaps unfairly overlooked for the best screenplay Oscar, it none the less picked up a host of other awards for its visual style and design.
What’s in a name?
The name gives us a pretty good idea where the film is going to be set and also that it will be a whimsical tale. There isn’t much more to it but it also hints at an older time and place. It’s simple but does the job well.
What makes it great?
A very strong script and some great performances throughout the cast make the story come alive. The beautiful cinematography and the unique way the aspect ratio is changed and used helps the film move along like a series of well-staged and beautiful paintings that our cast move in and out of. The whole things looks like a fairy tale and certainly takes the audience to another place.
The Grand Budapest Hotel as an (Epic) Buddy Love Movie
The Grand Budapest Hotel falls into the Buddy Love genre due to the main relationship between the two lead characters. It’s a tale of friendship as two very different people find friendship during an epic quest that takes them from an old hotel to snow covered fields and mountain peaks. Though not lovers there is even a tragic end for one of our much loved characters.
We also have the key ingredients of an ‘incomplete hero’ and a ‘counterpart’ in our two heroes and a ‘complication’ which draws them together in the tale of the missing Will and painting.
Opening Image – A grey cemetery followed by an author and a book. The book opens and we start the story of the hotel.
Theme Stated – Our theme is based around the idea of age and memories. The hotel is described as an enchanting old ruin. The film is primarily about the experiences we have with the ones we care about and how we remember them.
Set-Up – We see our fantasy land, the hotel and meet our key characters. We are walked around the hotel and a tone of melancholy is also set.
Catalyst – Zero begins to tell his story and his job interview starts around minute 12. It is his choice to enter the world of the GBH.
Debate – The debate is around whether Zero fits the GBH. Should he be hired? What actually is a lobby boy? He is of course and then Mr Gustave asks him to accompany him to one of his beloved guest’s mansions.
Break into Two – Once the train arrives at the mansion we are beginning to enter the realms of no return. Once the Will is read there is no turning back and Gustave and Zero are now locked in for the duration of the tale.
B Story – The B story is mentioned right on queue and then put off until later. It is of course the story of Zero and Agatha.
Fun and Games – There’s a game of hide and seek going on with the painting and lots of different chases. There’s even a jail breakout to plan to show us some of Mr Gustave’s charm in action.
Midpoint – Our story gets more serious as Zero in the modern day starts to cry. He now begins to tell the story of himself and Agatha.
Bad Guys Close In – Dmitri begins to close in on Gustave and Zero as he goes on the hunt for the painting and people who stand in his way. The stakes are raised in this section as a crucial document is found to be missing. People begin to die thanks to Dmitri’s thug and Gustave breaks out of jail.
All is Lost – All alone and without equipment and supplies Gustave and Zero are lost and in danger. When there is no perfume available Gustave loses his cool properly for the first time.
Dark Night of the Soul – Gustave realises he has lost his cool and gone too far. He apologises and the two friends makeup and continue their journey.
Break into Three – Running across the snow they find the magic phone box and ask for assistance from the society of the cross keys.
Finale – More people die and the thug chases Zero and Gustave to the observatory. Dmitri realises the painting is missing and the mountain section culminates in the ski chase back down. Zero then pushes the thug off the cliff to save the day. (Note, Zero is making things happen here rather than Gustave)
We see the final fate of our characters and the story begins to fade out.
Final image – Zero now older and back in the present. The story is told and we are now wiser to the stories and memories held within the hotel and why it is so important to him.