by Ruby LaBrusciano-Carris
Merrill’s Roxy was positively packed to the brim on Saturday night, overstuffed with people from all across Burlington, buzzing with the uplifted spirits that always seem to accompany the smell of hot, buttery popcorn and a warm theater on a cold night. Although it is a popular theater, Merrill’s is usually a relatively quiet place, and it seemed excited, albeit a tad overwhelmed, by the good-natured hubbub in the lobby.
We had made it into the theater twenty minutes early, but were still met by a long line, and it was nearly sheer luck with which we managed to snag the last couple seats at the very extreme front of the theater. As the lights dimmed and the screen crackled to life, I could tell that our location—clearly not ideal—was going to make for a rather distorted viewing, but despite it all, I couldn’t contain my excitement over the anticipation of Wes Anderson’s newest cinematic creation.
As the film opened, it was clear that The Grand Budapest Hotel would carry along with the quintessential playful, quirky, and artistic style that fans of Anderson’s have come to know and love. From the elaborate sets, the highly styled costumes, the eccentric characters, and the interplay of the cinematography, Anderson’s hand was obviously critical in curating almost every aspect of the show. The most stunning aspect of the production was always visual, but each and every part of the creation was woven together so intimately, and with such great care, that it was also difficult to separate the loveliness of one from the other.
As plots go, this was a particularly bizarre one, which jumped from character to character and between different storytelling levels with the discombobulating carelessness of an absentminded storyteller, yet despite the outlandishness of it all, an overarching story painted itself somewhat lucidly within that hour and a half. The story managed to be a little bit of every type of tale; a memoir, an adventure, a murder mystery, and a circus-like spectacle. All of it though, centered on the mysterious and lovely Grand Budapest Hotel, which was a showpiece both as a set and a plot point. Through its doors flounced a variety of peculiar and charming characters, both in relation to the story, as well as an impressive array of actors.
Between it all, they created a cinematic confection that one is truly unable to miss. Although with the lightning-fast turnaround speed, it is far too easy to wait for everything to appear online nowadays, I can’t express enough how exquisite this film is to see in its full-screen theater glory—even if you end up squeezed into the very front rows. Whether or not you’ve been hoarding Cats at the Movies tickets from Student Life, this movie would definitely be worth shelling out a few dollars for. Get it while it’s hot!