Dimitri Moustafa, also known as Zero, tells his story to an author, who turns that story into a book. But this isn’t the story of the author nor his book. It is the story within that story, which isn’t really the story of Zero Moustafa, but of his mentor, Mr. M. Gustave, the concierge of the once Grand Budapest Hotel.
Mr. Gustave takes his role as concierge with high esteem and reverence. He loves his job as well as many of his elderly patrons, the later to carnal delight. Through one such relationship, he becomes the heir to a great fortune to the dislikes of that late matriarch’s greedy family. As Zero helps his mentor in his quest to claim what is rightfully his, and subsequently escape prison and on to well-earned pleasures, Zero learns about life from a finer time.
It all sounds poetic, but the movie is a zany world all its own, told with a unique style. This movie is not easy to put into a category. It is a comedy, of the somewhat dry sort, with hints of Monty Python.
The cast is wide and wonderful, with Ralph Fiennes as Gustave, F. Murray Abraham as the older Moustafa, William Dafoe as the family henchman, Jeff Goldblum as the estate executor, Jude Law as the young author, Bill Murray as fellow concierge, and far more than I will recount here. Everyone brings their own touch to this quirky film.
The direction and cinematography are their own language, as much a part of the story as the script and plot. The soundtrack makes an excellent counter piece to the sometimes sedate camera, and other times rapid quick cuts.
I enjoyed this little film. Do note it is R rated. There is no sex or brutal violence, though at times the high-toned language is often punch lined with well-placed F bombs. That said, the kids would not enjoy this movie anyway. Nothing blows up.
It is worth the ticket. If you happen to wait, I wouldn’t bother with it on tv. The punch lines will get bleeped, and the film itself will lose its pace once chopped for commercials. If you don’t see it in the theater, then RedBox or NetFlix it where you can see it in full.