Grand Budapest Hotel, the latest from Wes Anderson, is dazzling and exhausting but ultimately bereft.
The trailer for director Wes Anderson’s next movie, due out in 2014 and called The Grand Budapest Hotel, came out Thursday. It features harpsichord-esque background music, a madcap plot, impish hipster humor made funnier by contrast to its opulent surroundings, and lots of shots of characters framed in the center, as though they are on a stage.
Moonrise Kingdom is set on an island, but its director Wes Anderson has always seemed like someone who insisted on a small off-shore existence. This is not uncommon in American movies, or necessarily forbidding: Josef von Sternberg lived on a glowing island where the light and its shadows fell on the face of a woman, ideally Marlene Dietrich, because Sternberg had loved her and been humiliated by her. Howard Hawks preferred to find an enclosed cockpit of intense talk and action—the airfield in Only Angels Have Wings or the court newsroom in His Girl Friday.
Early in Bottle Rocket, writer-director Wes Anderson's 1996 debut film, a little girl asks her recently de-institutionalized 26-year-old brother when he will be coming home. "I can't come home," he explains. "I'm an adult." With that scene Anderson, himself 26 at the time, announced the theme that would dominate all his movies to date: the plight of the man-child, too old to live life like a kid but not mature enough to stop trying. In Bottle Rocket, it was half-hearted thieves Anthony and Dignan straddling the gap between boyhood and manhood.