Starring: Ralph Feinnes, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Lea Seydoux (Rated M – 100 min).
A true original of modern cinema. Not only is this a hilarious comedy full of unexpected delights, it will charm your socks off with undeniable wit and ambitious visual class.
Director Wes Anderson has a flair for the unusual, The Life Aquatic and The Royal Tenenbaums are unlikey gems once seen – never forgotten. In his best role for a decade, Ralph Feinnes combines irony and humour with a touch of tragedy as legendary concierge Gustave. Feinnes is sensational, it took me years to warm back to him after the excruciating pain of The English Patient. He looks after the renowned European hotel with the lobby boy Zero, who becomes a most trusted friend.
Full of oddities, the story concerns a stolen renaissance painting and its recovery set during a period between world wars. While the continent around them is changing, also in the mix is a battle to claim a massive family fortune. Bruised romance and heartbreak also play a part. Add to that, constantly switching time periods and an array of wacky characters as played by a shopping list of famous faces with 19 Oscar nominations between them.
Underneath some impressive aging makeup, Tilda Swinton has to be seen to be believed as an 84 year old monarch Madame D. In the remarkable film Orlando, she lived through three centuries, that was nothing compared to her journey here. F. Murray Abraham shows that rare form first noticed in Amadeus but also keep a sharp eye on Harvey Keitel as the bewildered Ludwig. A scene when young Saoirse Ronan as Agatha lovingly prepares chocolate pastries sums up the perfection of this opus.
Trust me when I say each and every cast member is willing to do anything outside of normal persona in the high portion of interesting ideas. Prepare to be dazzled by immaculate costumes that basically become part of the articulate comedy capers happening around every corner. Final word on the hotel itself: ridiculously long hallways reminded me of The Outlook in The Shining, however that’s where the comparisons end. Brisk colouring, retro decor and sentimental architecture provides a glorious backdrop to the unfolding events. A shame it’s fictional or it would be the place to be.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.