Director Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr Fox) is renowned for leading audiences into skewed fictional worlds, and doing so with style and wit. He's surpassed himself with The Grand Budapest Hotel, a charming madcap comedy-drama set in Twenties Eastern Europe. Its remarkably starry cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jude Law and Harvey Keitel.
Ralph Fiennes - funnier than you've ever seen him - is gigolo Gustave H, the courteous concierge of the hotel. A guest, Madame D (Tilda Swinton), one of the elderly widows he routinely seduces, leaves him a valuable painting. On her death, her vengeful son (Adrien Brody) tries to frame him for her murder. Gustave and Zero, the young hotel lobby boy he befriends, try to stay a step ahead of their pursuers and keep the painting.
The story - an amusing send-up on the notion of Ruritania - has enough dash, zest and sly jokes to evoke memories of sophisticated movies from the Twenties. As always with Wes Anderson, it looks ravishing; everything on screen seems symmetrical and gorgeously designed. It's a hoot, and utterly delightful.
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