The Grand Budapest Hotel Blu-ray review

By Tribute on June 18, 2014 | 33 Comments

A Wes Anderson film can be spotted a mile away. Although his stories are each of a unique time and place, those places look very much the same. Overwrought and ornate, meticulously organized, brightly colorful, and more or less symmetrical, The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception. Actually, the hotel is exceptional, and it is kept that way under the supervision of concierge, M. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). Truly, the story belongs to him, but it must be filtered through several perspectives first. This film is all about framing devices. Like so many Russian Matryoshka dolls, the stories and timelines in which they are set are nested within one another and characterized by their own unique aspect ratio.

In the present day, a young woman visits a cemetery to pay tribute to a deceased author. As she opens his book, The Grand Budapest Hotel, the actions shifts to 1985, where the Author (Tom Wilkinson) details his visit to the titular retreat as a Young Writer (Jude Law) in 1968, whereupon the action shifts again. A dingy shadow of its former glory, the now run-down hotel is owned by a Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who proceeds to tell the Young Writer how he came to inherit the establishment. Flashback to 1932 – the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. (I must add here that the fictional geography and history that Anderson invents allows him to assemble the sights and sounds of Eastern Europe, painting a charming pastiche of luxurious hotels, tiered chocolate pastries, and of course, skiing.) Moustafa, aka Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori), is a junior lobby boy in training under the instruction of the fastidious, poetry-loving, heavily-cologned M. Gustave, who keeps the company of elderly and exceedingly wealthy female patrons.

When Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), one of Gustave’s consorts, dies under mysterious circumstances, she bequeaths the priceless masterpiece painting, Boy With Apple, to the concierge, which incurs the wrath of her greedy son, Dmitri (Adrien Brody) and his sinister henchman, Jopling (Willem Dafoe). Goofball and screwball partners in crime, Zero and Gustave steal the painting. When Gustave is framed and arrested for Madame D’s murder, it is up to Zero, with the help of a young baker, Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), to help his mentor escape from prison, prove his innocence, and recover the precious painting. What a treat to watch their unlikely but close friendship grow out of such bizarre and whimsical situations. Like the titular hotel, the film is incredibly charming in its many details.

The film and its hotel are celebrations of a bygone era, and yet there are several characters who seem out-of-place (and time), which is oh-so Andersonian. Regular collaborators  Bill MurrayJason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson appear in brief and unsubstantial roles. Personal vision is an increasingly rare event in a world that demands consistency across product lines, including films. Anderson’s works are unlike anything else in the cinemas, and this can be good or bad depending on your sensibilities as a viewer. He is an incredibly divisive director. People either loathe or love his visual style. Some embrace the quirk. Others find it unsettling and reject it. But The Grand Budapest Hotel may be Anderson’s first picture to betray and overwhelm even his most loyal, hipster followers. It is perhaps the clearest, sincerest expression of the director’s imagination.

By the same token, this sensory overload is also perhaps his most fun and playful film. Anderson’s touch is seen and felt in every frame. I truly can’t name another director who films working miniatures of the most artificial manufacturing against such obviously painted backdrops, as though he were a child peering into a makeshift diorama of his own creation. Even if it’s silly and outrageous, the novelty of his vision ought to be appreciated for what it is: a welcome reprieve from slick flicks with lens flares.

As far as special features go, Bill Murray Tours the Town is perhaps the most special of them all for no other reason than it’s Bill Murray leading a tour, an experience I’m sure only his most ardent and unusually cult fans have only fantasized about. Although the segment isn’t as funny as one might hope, it was a surprisingly interesting education in the local culture, as Murray tries a variety of German sausages with spicy mustard and points out that Poland is literally down the street and to the right of where he is standing in Gorlitz, Germany, where much of the film was shot.

Other features include a stills gallery and three featurettes, each about the making of the film, the cast, and the director. Unfortunately, many of the sound bites and interview clips are used repeatedly across all three features, so they are rather redundant, but the Vignettes featured on the home release are a real treat, especially a filmed recipe guide to making the film’s star, Seussian confection, Mendl’s Courtesan Au Chocolat.

Other home releases this week include: Cosmos: A Spacetime OdysseyThe LEGO MovieDevil’s KnotJoeHouse of Cards: Season 2 and Walk of Shame~Daniel Horowitz

Comments & Discussion

  1. Lily • June 18, 2014 @ 12:56 PM

    After reading through the synopsis, I am really interested to watch this true story movie. Thanks for the chance!!

  2. Andrew • June 18, 2014 @ 12:57 PM

    The Grand Budapest Hotel was one of the best films of the year! I have to watch it for a second time!

  3. Lesley de la Salle • June 18, 2014 @ 12:58 PM

    I have a friend that saw this and couldn’t stop talking about it, I would love to see it!

  4. Gordon Y • June 18, 2014 @ 12:59 PM

    Would love a copy of this marvelous movie on bluray. Wes Anderson does amazing work. The detail and love put into this movie by everyone involved shines through in every frame. It was a lot of fun to see it in the theatre. Can’t wait to get a copy of my own.

  5. JaimeeM • June 18, 2014 @ 1:05 PM

    I would love to win a copy of this movie because I missed my chance to see it in theatures when I wanted to see it. it looked like a good movie and Im always on the lookout for new dvds/blu rays to add to my collection

  6. Nancy Douglas • June 18, 2014 @ 1:06 PM

    I loved this movie, was taken by a friend for my birthday, and would love to share it with my family. So wonderfully quirky and a joy for the senses, such amazing detail.

  7. Larissa B • June 18, 2014 @ 1:07 PM

    *sigh* Just seeing the cover makes me smile. Wes Anderson is one of my all-time favourite directors and, as far as I’m concerned, he can do no wrong (at least when it comes to movies). I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel back when it was only playing in select theatres, and had to pay the cost of a bluray to do it 😉 But it was 150% worth it!! Loved this movie soooooo much! It told so many quirky, yet incredible stories 🙂 Like every other Wes Anderson movie, I’d love to see it a second (and third, fourth, and fifth) time! 🙂

  8. gilles laframboise • June 18, 2014 @ 1:08 PM

    we heard from our friends who saw it and they loved it. they found the film really interesting but loved the scenery and the background of all of it..

  9. Anne Taylor • June 18, 2014 @ 1:09 PM

    My husband and I are avid film buffs and would love to own this movie! The cast is amazing and it looks so good!


  10. Melissa Parker • June 18, 2014 @ 1:13 PM

    Because this movie is amazing and will fit quite nicely with my other Anderson DVDs!

  11. M. Tratnik • June 18, 2014 @ 1:15 PM

    Would love to spend time in Europe (even fictional) even by watching a DVD.

  12. Diane L • June 18, 2014 @ 1:16 PM

    I would love to win a copy of this movie. I saw it in theatres and I LOVED it. It was so charming – Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori were fantastic in it.

  13. April • June 18, 2014 @ 1:18 PM

    I have always been a fan of puzzle piece plots, particularly those set in various eras. And the fact that this story is based on location in Germany, makes for a beautiful and historically relevant backdrop. I have not yet seen this film as where I live, movies are short lived so I missed it’s time in our theatres. The cast is stellar; the story thought-provoking and unique. I would love to add this to my movie collection.

  14. Vijay • June 18, 2014 @ 1:22 PM

    Bill Murray’s in it? BAM! I’m there.
    I’ll see anything with him in it! 🙂
    And Tilda Swinton, of course. <3

  15. Angela • June 18, 2014 @ 1:36 PM

    Good ratings on this movie & really hope to win this. I haven’t watch it yet.

  16. Stephanie • June 18, 2014 @ 1:40 PM

    One of the most creative, hilarious, and beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. I love all of Wes Anderson’s movies, but this one has made it into my top three. I’d love a copy of it. Even have the movie poster on my wall…

  17. Willy • June 18, 2014 @ 1:44 PM

    Hope to win this for my brother, he loves comedy-drama film & his friends recommended this movie to him.

  18. Nyuk • June 18, 2014 @ 1:46 PM

    Awesome!! Thanks for the chance. I really hope to win this & watch as many as times as possible. Great film.

  19. Ann • June 18, 2014 @ 1:51 PM

    Really good movie

  20. LAinVan • June 18, 2014 @ 2:52 PM

    What an amazing cast, assembled by an amazing director. This film is a classic that will endure. A must have for my collection.

  21. Jennifer • June 18, 2014 @ 2:52 PM

    I have heard so many good things about this film, would love to own it.

  22. Anthony • June 18, 2014 @ 3:10 PM

    The Grand Budapest Hotel is easily my favourite film of 2014 so far as well as my favourite Wes Anderson film. Everything about this film was brilliant: the talented cast, the spectacular production design, the simple yet beautiful cinematography, and Wes Anderson’s iconic quirky direction. Ever since Fantastic Mr. Fox, it feels like each film he releases is better than the last one. I hope to own this film on Blu-ray so that I could enjoy it over and over again.

  23. Keith • June 18, 2014 @ 3:15 PM

    Eight Oscar nominated performers (three of them winners – Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, and Adrien Brody – plus Wes Anderson = great movie!

  24. Geordie • June 18, 2014 @ 3:22 PM

    Would love to watch it as we have a newborn and were unable to see it in theatres. Miss going to the movies with my wife twice a week! Stars and strollers only program G films and it would be lovely to watch something that isn’t animated!

  25. jayne • June 18, 2014 @ 3:29 PM

    I wanted to see this movie at the theatre but it seemed to not stay in my city very long(if at all)so I would love to win this DVD and fill like I’m on this journey with the young woman>

  26. brandon • June 18, 2014 @ 4:41 PM

    I saw it in theatres, and like most wes anderson movies i loved it. He has such a unique style.

  27. Susan T. • June 18, 2014 @ 6:37 PM

    The actors that are in this movie are just amazing. All my favorites are there! I’ve had some really awful things happen to me and my family lately and we really need a good laugh right now. I think this would fit the bill!

  28. Wally Thom • June 18, 2014 @ 9:28 PM

    very funny, enjoyable movie and a great cast

  29. Lori P • June 18, 2014 @ 9:44 PM

    Love to win this movie on Blu-ray, if not just to vicariously enjoy all the fun the amazing cast are having in this unlikely ensemble picture. I also happen to be a fan of (most) of Wes Anderson’s films, and expect I would get as caught up in the film as any of my favourite movies. (Very vivid and interesting review, too. Thanks for this.)

  30. Linda Baribeau • June 19, 2014 @ 12:41 AM

    I miss the movie in theater. Really disappointed ’cause I really want to see it!

  31. Sandy m • June 19, 2014 @ 7:10 AM

    My son saw this in theatre, I was supposed to go but something came up at the last minute ao he took someone else. Im sorry I missed it, its all they could talk about for the next couple weeks. I was kicking myself and still am!

  32. Nathalie Trudel • June 19, 2014 @ 9:42 AM

    great stars in this one….want to watch it! 🙂

  33. Bonnie • June 19, 2014 @ 12:46 PM

    it’s an amazing movie. wes anderson does it again! very cartoony and fun, with the usual quirkiness you expect from this director. amazing cast as usual and the cinematography rocks!

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