Wes Anderson, the 44-year old American director, has been nominated several times for his movies. He has been nominated for the Academy Award of Best Original Screenplay twice: in 2001 for “the Royal Tenenbaums” and in 2012 for “Moonrise Kingdom”. He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2009 for “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
Anderson loves working with the same actors in many of his films and some of his recurring collaborators include Owen, Luke and Andrew Wilson, Bill Murray, Saymour Cassel, Anjelica Huston and Jason Schwartzman. Bill Murray has been in six out of his seven films, including his new movie, coming out Spring 2014. Anderson has millions of fan who adore his aesthetics, heavily influenced by the ’60s and 70’s. His characters are always somewhat quirky and bizarre, with complex personalities, even more complex relationships with each other and an amazing sense of style. The soundtracks of his movies are also works of art on their own.
The trailer of his last movie, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” hit the internet a few days ago and it looks very promising. Certainly, after the huge success of his last movie, “Moonrise Kingdom”, Anderson must have worked hard to try and create something of equal artistic value. The cast is really impressive, filled with some of his favorite actors and some new additions as well. Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, William Dafoe, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Lea Seydoux, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Tony Revolori and Jason Swartchman are some of the actors. Quite a choice, right?
The plot of the film revolves around the relationship of a concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel and a lobby boy between the two World Wars. During the film a Renaissance painting gets stolen and a battle begins for a huge family fortune. The movie takes place in three different time periods and Anderson decided to use three different aspect ratios, to let the viewers know in which period every scene takes place. At least this is how things are explained in the book “The Wes Anderson Collection” by Zoller Seitz.
In this film Tilda Swinton ages about thirty years with the help of makeup artists and judging from the trailer it seems that they did and excellent job. But it is not just the make up that is impressive. The pink of the Grand Budapest Hotel facade, the hot red of the elevator, the purple of the staff uniforms, the luxurious carpets, the mirrors, the chandeliers and all the wonderful detailing that Anderson does when it comes to setting up his scenes, create such a magical atmosphere.
In this movie Anderson seems to be revisiting the mentor/apprentice theme that he studied in such detail in “Rushmore”. He also has an Indian protagonist. As Anderson has been accused before of being racist, due to the way that he presents people of color or other races in his movies, it is interesting to see how he will approach the matter this time. The criticism on his previous films was focused on the fact that his Indian or Asian characters seem to be caricatures and lack the depth of his white characters. Additionally, when his white male characters hook up with women of color, it is usually after a white woman has dumped them. And is if that were not enough, Anderson’s white characters are all somehow rich enough to travel the world and pay for their antidepressants, while all his characters of color belong to the working class. Not fair Wes! Will you make it up for it in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”? We sure hope so!