The Grand Budapest Hotel: Comedic genius

The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-2-290x290THE GRAND Budapest Hotel is brilliant. Everything about it is so cleverly enforced with a stroke of comedic genius. The film follows the life of an immigrant lobby boy who is new to the hotel, seeking refuge in Budapest from his war-torn home. He is taken under the helpful wing of Gustave H. and in turn gets caught up in the ripples of his life.

*spoiler alert: the following review does contain spoilers for the film & the ending*

However, beneath that façade of the happy and glamorous hotel, certain cracks begin to show. These are particularly shown in the character of Gustave H. He is slightly mad. He sleeps with the residents of the hotel, who are mainly over the age of 60 and extremely rich. One lady traps him more than the others. They had been having an on and off relationship with each other for 20 years. She has suspicions while saying farewell to him that this may be their last encounter. She was correct. Upon the news of the death of his lover, he rushes to see her, and coincidentally just happens to stumble in at the same time of the reading of the will. After a theft of a priceless painting, and a long train ride back to the hotel, Gustave is wrongly accused of the murder of his late lover and is subsequently willing to go to extreme lengths to prove his innocence.

A touch of Inglorious Basterds

This task involves a cunningly mastered prison break, bypassing the guards’ room and climbing over a few of them. Gustave and his number two, Zero, make a very expected run for it into the mountains. Here they make numerous very close and extremely funny shaves with the authorities and a rouge assassin that is working for the heirs of Gustave’s dead mistress. One particular incident comes to mind when the clueless policemen identify his notorious perfume, the scent of which has filled the carriage of the train and still lingers even though he has managed to niggle his way out of this predicament as well. Parts of the film, including this section, have a touch of Inglorious Basterds to it: Overly violent but with comical intentions and to make a mockery of a certain character. It was like Inglorious Basterds but not as focused on mass killings of Nazis.

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Gustave is not just known for his shockingly poor criminal mastermind but his hard-iron rule of the hotel. From his pristinely pressed uniform to the rule of not telling the secrets or whereabouts of the guests to other guests or public; Gustave trains new employees to take everything on the chin for the greater good of the hotel. He puts his heart, reputation and his life on the line to save the hotel and Zero. Zero was his only true friend and he taught him everything he knew. Gustave’s downfall from prosperity was the sole cause of Zero’s rise from rags to riches. The line, “There are some decent people left that restore your fate in humanity. He was right. It was him,” was used when Gustav took the fall for his young prodigy.

This moment is heart quenching and I, along with half of the cinema, was crying. He represents the bridge between social conventions and individual desires. He does what he wants irrespective of what is normal. The act of self-sacrifice proves he is willing to do whatever it takes to follow this through. 2014’s version of the Grand Budapest Hotel is another in a fair few versions of the novel. In my personal opinion, it is a delight to watch and it is no wonder why all of the showings at the Arts Centre have been sold out so far.