For me personally I became a little lost in regards to the plot. Maybe I’m just too dense or maybe the Anderson’s goal is to create a somewhat vague plot. There is one hilarious moment when Gustave, after breaking out of prison violently asks Serge X (Mathieu Amaliric) - the D. Family butler- “What the f—k is going on.” It’s a somewhat meta-moment that highlights the ridiculousness of the plot and how the characters we’re dealing with aren’t exactly any clearer on the proceedings than the audience.
The film’s multiple layers present us with Anderson’s commentary on how story telling is all about layers or to put it this way- storytelling is about passing down stories over time. The young student- for all we know- has never met the author or the elderly Zero- and definitely not Gustave-but through the authors’ work she gets a glimpse in to the past- or at least a version of the past. Maybe that’s the whole point. We only see the past through Zero’s memories, which may be why these events seem to exist in such a heightened reality.
Ronan is one part of a large ensemble cast that fills out this universe and gives it texture.Many of these actors are Anderon regulars- along with many several new faces, like Fiennes. Fiennes is the standout here, giving a dryly funny performance, presenting us with a man both debonair and somewhat clueless.
My only complaint about the film is- similar to Anderson’s previous film Moonrise Kingdom, my favourite film of 2012- there’s a bit of animal cruelty that felt a little too dark. That and some of the violence felt a little too jarring in this universe.
On a closing note, I can see The Grand Budapest Hotel becoming a beloved classic as the years go by. Like Anderson’s other films there’s timeless quality to the film. It’s bittersweet and ultimately tragic but still manages to be one of the most joyous experiences I’ve had at the movies in quite some time.