I have watched “The Grand Budapest Hotel” once more, and I have liked it as much as the previous times.
It is a comedy film starring Ralph Fiennes as a sophisticated concierge who teams up with one of his employees to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. He never despairs, even in the most unfavourable circumstances.
The story develops on three time levels.
In the present day, a writer recollects his stay at the decadent Grand Budapest Hotel in the mountains of the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, a nation ravaged by war and poverty, when he learnt the hotel’s history from the elderly owner.
This is Zero Moustafa who, in that recollection, invites the writer to have dinner with him and tells him how he took possession of the hotel, now decrepit and with few guests.
The story is centred around the hotel’s original concierge, Monsieur Gustave H, who hired him to work as lobby boy, and became his mentor and friend
The hotel was then glorious, the clients were rich, and the legendary concierge kept everything going on. He was able to manage both hotel and staff efficiently and also to attend the sexual needs of the old wealthy ladies lodged there. He would court a series of aging, blonde women who all came back to the hotel to enjoy his “exceptional service”, year after year.
He spent one night with Madame D., too, and when he learnt that she had been found dead at home, he asked Zero to travel with him to the funeral. Here he discovered he had inherited a priceless Renaissance painting, which obviously enraged her son. Gustave succeeded in stealing the painting, and hid it in a safe at the Grand Budapest. After promising Zero that he would be his heir for his help, he was falsely accused of murdering Madame D. He was arrested and imprisoned, and this was the beginning of a series of difficulties, overcome also thanks to Zero’s courageous fiancée, Agatha , who was a baker’s assistant in the local Viennese-style patisserie.
Zero helped him escape from a maximum security prison and then, in the attempt to prove his innocence, they arrived at a mountaintop monastery to meet the only person who could provide Gustave with an alibi for the night of Madame D’s murder. But an assassin arrived, killed the witness, pursued the two, but was fortunately killed by Zero.
Meanwhile the Grand Budapest had been seized by the army who wanted to turn it into a bunker.
Agatha, who had become Zero’s wife, agreed to go inside to retrieve the painting, which served to prove Gustave’s innocence thanks to a letter hidden in its frame.
Then, a different version of Madame D’s will was discovered: it revealed that she was the mysterious owner of the Grand Budapest, bequeathed to Gustave, together with the painting and much of her fortune.
Therefore he became very rich, and one of the hotel’s regular guests, but, during a train trip, he was killed during an argument with some soldiers.
Zero promised to continue his legacy at the Grand Budapest and keep it open even after Agatha’s death.
So we understand why, although he is losing money, he in unwilling to close it: the hotel is his last link to his dead wife and the best years of his life.
I have loved the visual style of this film, especially the interiors of the Grand Budapest which look like a great cathedral of eccentricity. The story, full of nostalgia, humour, sorrow, is captivating, and a vehicle for the striking visuals, the dark humour and the rapid-fire dialogue