OLD TIME

Wes An­der­son’s lat­est film com­bines a great mix of nos­tal­gia and faded grandeur in a rollicking piece of cin­e­matic chaos

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - VICKY ROACH

The in­te­rior of Tim Bur­ton’s house – a gothic melange of skele­tons and weird arte­facts – wouldn’t be en­tirely out of place in one of his films.

But Wes An­der­son’s New York apart­ment is noth­ing like the exquisitely clut­tered worlds he has con­jured up for The Royal Te­nen­baums, The Dar­jeel­ing Limited or, most re­cently, The Grand Bu­dapest Ho­tel.

“It’s very sim­ple. It’s beige and it’s mostly made of ply­wood,’’ he says.

“What I like to do in my movies doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the way I like to live.

“It’s quite sep­a­rate from it, in fact. I tend to fill my movies up with a lot of things.

“And I tend to get rid of a lot of things in my life.”

In con­ver­sa­tion, An­der­son chooses his words with al­most as much care as he de­signs each frame of his movies, which are noted for their metic­u­lous de­tail.

His man­ners would meet even the im­pos­si­bly high stan­dards of Gus­tave H. (Ralph Fi­ennes), The Grand Bu­dapest’s smooth-talk­ing concierge.

But that po­ten­tially cold-fish per­fec­tion­ism is off­set by a gen­uine ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the hu­man con­di­tion.

It’s an ap­peal­ing com­bi­na­tion and one that wouldn’t sur­prise the 44-year-old film­maker’s many devo­tees, who point out that the char­ac­ters in An­der­son’s painstak­ing­ly­con­structed worlds tend to cre­ate chaos.

An­der­son’s pre­vi­ous two films, Moon­rise King­dom and Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox, have gar­nered some of the best re­views of his ca­reer, which be­gan in 1996 with Bot­tle Rocket.

But The Grand Bu­dapest, de­scribed by one critic as the clos­est An­der­son will ever come to a WWII film, has gone one step fur­ther, trans­lat­ing that crit­i­cal ac­claim into cross­over au­di­ences and record-break­ing box of­fice.

Fea­tur­ing a stel­lar cast that in­cludes Jude Law, Tilda Swin­ton, Jeff Gold­blum, Ed­ward Nor­ton, Har­vey Kei­tel and An­der­son reg­u­lars Bill Mur­ray, Adrien Brody and Owen Wil­son, An­der­son’s eighth fea­ture be­came the high­est gross­ing, live ac­tion limited US open­ing of all time when it opened in the US.

It has since taken $US33 mil­lion at the box of­fice and claimed the No 1 spot in the UK in its third week of re­lease.

The nos­tal­gic ’30s pink con­fec­tion of the ti­tle, lo­cated atop a re­mote, snow-cov­ered peak, is ac­tu­ally based on a real ho­tel. And the film it­self was in­spired by a re­search tour of six East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries.

“We of­ten found old pho­to­graphs and then went to those places to see what they were like now.

“Of­ten times that ex­pe­ri­ence of see­ing what has be­come of a place is a lit­tle de­press­ing.”

An­der­son in­cor­po­rated that sense of nos­tal­gia and faded grandeur in the East­ern Euro­pean ca­per movie about the friend­ship be­tween Gus­tave and Zero (Tony Revolori), the ho­tel lobby boy he men­tors dur­ing the ho­tel’s golden age.

When the concierge is framed for the mur­der of one of his wealthy clients (Tilda Swin­ton), and the theft of a price­less Re­nais­sance paint­ing, he and Zero find them­selves on the run from the po­lice and the evil hench­man (Willem Dafoe) hired by the 84-year-old dowa­ger’s fam­ily.

“Mak­ing this movie was quite a happy ex­pe­ri­ence partly be­cause I felt like we had cast ev­ery­body in a way where they could re­ally sink their teeth into their char­ac­ters,” An­der­son says. “And be­cause we were all liv­ing in the one ho­tel, we had din­ner to­gether ev­ery night. The evenings were very fun.”

opens to­day.

Ralph Fi­ennes in The Grand Bu­dapest Ho­tel

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