I've been a fan of Wes Anderson's unique style of storytelling ever since I first saw Bottle Rocket back in 1996, and like a lot of people, I've followed his career closely, eagerly anticipating each new installment of his imagination. Over the years, I've been rewarded with stories written and directed in a such a way that they create a parallel universe that resembles our own if it were merged with a the fantastical elements of modern fairy tales.
Last night I got the chance to see his newest addition, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie shared many thematic features with his previous work; an absurd caper, awkward romance, and incredible sets. But the backdrop of an imaginary war, styled after World War II, gave the movie an old romantic feel that pushed it to the next level. The outstanding cast of characters, all played by extremely talented actors, hearkened back to 2001's The Royal Tenenbaums and 2004's The Life Aquatic, two of his best films, and I walked out of the theater convinced that this film ranked right alongside them.
There are a handful of artists whose imagination I'm truly in awe of, and Wes Anderson is one of them. This movie was an incredible unpacking of ideas woven together in wonderful ways. One of his strengths is that he never allows the film, or any of his films, to get wrapped up in pretentious themes and simply allows them to tell a fun story in a fun way. He has a very literary way of letting a story unfold, something I can appreciate. His movies often feel as though they could be turned into books, rather than movies that feel like books turned into movies. In fact, the framing tale for this film was that of an author who had written the story as a novel, then allows the viewer to see how the creation of the novel unfolded. In that way, Wes Anderson has always been a film maker writer's can admire. I'm sure we'll all be talking about this movie come next year's awards season...or at least, we'd better be.