The trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel, director Wes Anderson’s newest film, was unleashed on the Internet earlier today, and there is absolutely no mistaking his uncanny imprint. It’s an Anderson picture through and through, complete with elaborately constructed sets, bright colors, and deadpan one-liners. Paste’s own Nick Purdy put it best: “Anderson is like Monet at this point. Absolutely instantaneous recognition. I knew I was looking at an Anderson movie in the very first frame and all the frames of that trailer. Any screengrab out of context and the same would still be true.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy:
Now I’ll drop the neutral journalist act and confess: While there are certainly bigger Wes Anderson fans out there in the world, I can at least hang with the other obsessives. They wouldn’t kick me out of their circle. So now it’s time to nerd out on what I consider his greatest trailer ever and pick out the 10 most “Wes Andersony” moments. (This is Part One, stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow.)
The very first shot of the trailer is vintage Wes—purple old-school bellhop uniforms standing out against the bright red of the elevator (which is, of course, old-timey, operated by a lever). “Why do you want to be a lobby boy,” asks Ralph Fiennes, using his best airy/aristocratic accent. I could not possibly be more excited for Fiennes in this film. Almost every line he has is hysterical, and the crazy part is that he seems nothing like Ralph Fiennes. Has he ever been funny before? He’s basically the most serious man in Hollywood after Russell Crowe.
This leads into another classic Wes Anderson phenomenon (and another that Nick pointed out, stealing the very thoughts from my brain)—he loads his films with famous actors who would completely overwhelm any normal movie, yet somehow they all fit seamlessly into the Wes Anderson aesthetic. They fall completely into the world of their character, and suddenly you’ve got a fluid ensemble production composed of multimillionaire stars. How does he do that?
Yup. As we know, Wes Anderson loves ostentatious art.
God, this frame is hysterical. Ralph Fiennes is a ladies’ man, but he’s the kind who prefers his women…seasoned. This is the first film that Wes Anderson has written entirely on his own (previous partners include Owen Wilson, Noah Baumbach, Jason Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola), and it already seems like it could be the funniest.
Inspired, unconventional casting choices are Anderson’s secret weapon.
Ralph Fiennes, ladies and gentlemen. Remember when Anderson resuscitated Bill Murray’s career in Rushmore by proving he could be a serious actor? He’s doing the opposite for Fiennes, re-defining him as a comic genius. He’ll never be in a serious film again.
Here we have Agatha, played by Saoirse Ronan, one of Anderson’s classic non-manic pixie-ish dream girls (Serene-yet-Melancholic Pixie Dream Girl?) in the Miss Cross/Margot Tenenbaum/Rita/Mrs. Fox mold (just kidding on that last one). I’m still not sure whether that’s a Mexico-shaped birthmark or a tattoo of some kind, but that tranquil smile couldn’t exist in anything but a Wes Anderson film.
The hesitation comic line is another of Anderson’s best tricks. Remember Oseary Drakoulias’ amazing “what sort of expression is the lad wearing on his face?” line? Same idea. The false calm in Fiennes’ voice is brilliant, disguising the fact that there are probably any number of things the police might pin on him, and I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE.
This got the loudest laugh from me of any moment in the trailer. It reminded me most of Eli Cash running away in Tenenbaums when Richie confronted him in the weird apartment about his drug use (“there he goes,” said recently departed Kumar), but there are also echoes of Dignan trying to flee the police in Bottle Rocket and hell, even the entire theme of running away in Moonrise Kingdom. The act of fleeing is always a goldmine for Anderson.
Adrien Brody is a dandy with a twirled-up mustache and a pinky ring, and Willem Dafoe is his henchman who wears brass knuckles to a funeral. This is too glorious for words, and fits right in with the rest of Anderson’s weirdos like Klaus Daimler, and all of Etheline Tenenbaum’s suitors. March 17 is so, so far away.
Staged violence is always hilarious with Anderson, from Max getting his ass kicked by Buchan to Eli and Chaz tumbling over the neighbor’s garden wall to Zissou’s classic, “You never say ‘I’m going to fight you, Steve.’ You just smile and act natural, and then you sucker punch him.” The latest installment, though, with the three-punch instant-revenge sequence, might be the greatest yet.
Hey look, we’ve arrived at no. 10 and I’ve made it exactly halfway through the clip. This calls for a Friday sequel! Stay tuned for that tomorrow.