Saturday, 8 March 2014

REVIEW - THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL


Having now refined and concentrated his self-styled directorial design to the nth detail, Wes Anderson's films have become formalist delights, for those who are amenable to those delights therein. If it's a thoroughly manufactured design, at least it feels true to Anderson's desires and intentions, and he is thrillingly aware of its artificiality. He has here devised a most wonderful, whimsical fantasy, in which the whimsy has been attended to with such reverence and such precision that it has developed genuine substance, and that is the substance of Anderson's films these days. Appreciative of the sensory and narrative restrictions that his rigorous mise-en-scene and poetic affectations have, he fills his film with colour, humour, motion and a number of winningly crude touches. He may present those rare moments of disorder, or flashes of unexpectedly racy content (we're talking Wes-Anderson-racy, now) as, themselves, strictly controlled elements of a larger cinematic arrangement, but there remains a certain glee in occasionally witnessing these flashes of relative abandon - they break up the somewhat stifling sense of scrupulousness in Anderson's style, as charming and as idiosyncratic as that might often be. And it is that idiosyncrasy that permits The Grand Budapest Hotel to flourish as its own artistic entity. Anderson is knowingly constructing a cinematic discipline unique to himself, and who cares if that's nauseatingly obnoxious of him? At the least, he knows what he's good at, and is producing works of art that are likely to be recalled for years to come as examples of contemporary auteurism in American cinema.