We here at SJF do our best to recommend films that you'll enjoy - we think those that bill themselves as 'important' are mostly meant to be ignored, while those hidden gems require a bit of digging and a willingness to push your boundaries. Director Wes Anderson scored big on our 2012 Best-Of list with Moonrise Kingdom, due entirely to its quirkiness and beautifully-demented environment. We didn't feel that way about Bottle Rocket and we outright disliked Fantastic Mr. Fox; but with The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson scores with a funny yet unconventional work that's certainly not mainstream.
And yet it's not as endearing as Moonrise Kingdom, nor does the flash forward/back style seem to gel as well as it could. This and its rather abrupt ending are its only faults, merely frustrating us only long enough before its contagious style draws us back in. This is the kind of film that can wake up the casual moviegoer used to cookie-cutter plots and predictable endings, so long as you're willing to suspend reality in exchange for the promise of a good time.
Much like other genre pics we've recently reviewed, The Grand Budapest Hotel isn't for everyone. Its wackiness is equaled by Anderson's deft direction and its deep cast, which combine into a pleasing adventure that's off the beaten path. In an industry that celebrates the mediocre and the predictable, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a surprise we can happily recommend.
It's rated R for language, some sexual content and violence and has a runtime of 100 minutes.
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