I fell in love with Wes Anderson as a filmmaker when I saw Rushmore and The Life Aquatic my senior year of high school. I ended up taking all my friends to see The Life Aquatic four times in theaters. Just thought you should know from the start that I’m a fanboy for the world of Anderson.
I loved Moonrise Kingdom. I think he grew as a filmmaker and connected with a wider audience as a result. Everyone can relate to its story of young love. Setting it in the 1960s justified his time-warped aesthetic. And Bob Balaban’s brilliant turn as the narrator announcing the coming storm introduced a new element for a Wes Anderson film, the ticking clock. Yet Moonrise Kingdom still left me hoping that Anderson’s next film would somehow break out of his norm even more. With the third act hurricane in Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson showed he knows how to build and execute suspense. My friends could quote me as declaring that Wes Anderson should tackle an Agatha Christie murder mystery.
Now that the trailer has dropped for The Grand Budapest Hotel I think maybe Anderson heard me. The movie seems to have a lot of the elements that I thought would make Agatha and Wes a match made in heaven: an elegant European setting that appears to be in the early 20th century, the murder of a wealthy aristocrat, a myriad of colorful characters who could all be suspects, and, potentially, a lot of mystery and intrigue around who, why, and how the murder was committed. Ralph Fiennes, a Wes Anderson newcomer, looks amazing as the central figure around which the rest of the outstanding cast revolves. Other newcomers include Saoirse Ronan (sporting a birthmark shaped like Mexico on her face), Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, F. Murray Abraham, and Mathieu Almaric, all of whom have roles still shrouded in mystery at this point.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Wes Anderson film if the cast wasn’t filled out with some of his veteran actors: Bill Murray (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom), Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox), Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom), Willem Dafoe (The Life Aquatic, Fantastic Mr. Fox), Adrien Brody (The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox), Tilda Swinton (Moonrise Kingdom), Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom), Jeff Goldblum (Life Aquatic), and Harvey Keitel (Moonrise Kingdom).
I’m very excited to see classic Wes Anderson elements like amazing color schemes, trains, and long pauses (“The police are here.”… “Tell them I’ll be right down.”) mixed with new elements like murder mysteries, prison breaks, and mustaches for every character. This new trailer looks like it might be a little too eccentric to find a wide audience, but I for one couldn’t be more excited.