Wes Anderson creates a world full of fast-talking characters, overhead shots, pristine uniforms, and blunt humor in his film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. This film takes place at the start of World War II, but this is not your basic war film. Anderson is able to fill the scenes with action using ski lifts, escape plans from jail, and many fighting scenes without making the film revolve around violence. Most of Anderson's films have elements such as adventure and dry comedy, but with this film Anderson creates his own rich world in which the characters develop and feel real. Anderson made this film for audiences who enjoy adventure stories and who appreciate them being told in an untraditional manner.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a perfect story that emphasizes brotherhood and loyalty through hard times. Anderson shows how two men stay friends through hardship and bad luck, supporting each other no matter what, even when one goes to jail. Wes Anderson shows how the story told by the character, Zero, was not as glamorous as he portrays it. In the beginning of the film, we are shown the differences between the story’s hotel and the hotel in real life. Throughout different scenes, the characters’ actions are exaggerated to demonstrate how Zero is remembering the story, and we begin to understand how his story is slightly fabricated.
Wes Anderson has stunning color palettes in each of his films. He uses specific colors to set the tone for each of his films. For instance, in flashbacks, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a vibrant pink because Zero, the protagonist, remembers it as a dignified place. As Zero tells his story and the film becomes more serious and violent, the color palette in each scene gets darker, and the audience feels a sense of uneasiness. His palettes set the tone, and if Anderson had not put focus on them, this would be a completely different film. When comparing the Grand Budapest Hotel in the beginning of the film to the one from Zero’s story, there are major differences. The present day hotel has a dull gray and orange color palette, while the one from Zero’s story has energetic pinks and reds. This demonstrates how Zero’s memory of the hotel and his adventures are more grand than they truly were.
Over two decades, Wes Anderson has created and honed his style so that audiences can immediately recognize one of his films just by the look and sound of it. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the perfect representation of his unique style. This film contains: creative camera angles, subtle comical lines and fast, flat dialogue. It is serious, funny, sad, and uplifting all at the same time.
Anderson finds many diverse ways to express the tones and emotions of each scene. He uses various techniques such as symmetry, color palettes, and model sets to express himself. Anderson uses symmetry in all of his films, but it is palpable in The Grand Budapest Hotel. He uses symmetry in almost every scene, whether it is in a grand dining room, within stunning carpets, or in the streets. Other directors almost never use symmetry because symmetry is often viewed as “stagey.” By defying the rules, Anderson will put the main focus on the subject smack dab in the middle of the screen. The symmetry gives an expressive and uneasy sense of being within the scenes. Without the symmetry, it is not really a Wes Anderson film.
In many ways Anderson creates a world full of adventures. He directs films that have emotions flowing throughout and will always keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Anderson’s films are always able to connect to the audience. He can bring out many different emotions and to create a sense of longing for the past. He shows how simplicity is better than elegance. Anderson uses color and symmetry to create visuals that audiences will delight in and remember. The worlds created by Anderson’s imagination are one of a kind and worth watching over and over. In essence, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a rollercoaster of ups and downs that leaves you breathless.
Written by Sophia Calcagno