From the first time I laid eyes on Luke Wilson in a camel suit and sweatband, I knew that Wes Anderson was a filmmaker that would never let me down. Those who don’t like Bill Murray or a late-60s aesthetic won’t agree with me, but he is a true visionary. Even the man’s failures aren’t really failures—his directorial inception Bottle Rocket (1996) may have been an audience flop, but it made it on Scorsese’s list of top-ten best movies of the 90s.
In the trailer for Anderson’s newest project The Grand Budapest Hotel, due out March 7, Anderson’s tropes are present. Yes, the movie takes place in a hotel, as you might have guessed, titillating those who wanted more of Hotel Chevalier or of Royal Tenenbaum in his bell-boy get-up. And yes, a butt-load of Hollywood’s finest will star: Ralph Fiennes, Ed Norton, Harvey Keitel, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody (and Bill Murray) to name a few—but the patterns go deeper than this.
According to the trailer, The Grand is the story of Gustave H., a renowned concierge and womanizer as he faces charges for the murder of an elderly past-lover and hotel guest played by Tilda Swinton. Thus far, we’ve touched on a pivotal Anderson motif: romances that make his audience thoroughly uncomfortable. The only thing grosser than Ralph Fiennes banging an ancient Tilda Swinton (she plays an 84-year-old) would be Voldemort penetrating that thing from the Narnia movies with his pet python. This twisted pairing of genitals isn’t new to Anderson, from Richie and Margot Tenenbaum’s incestuous hook-up in a child’s tent, to the prepubescent romance of Suzy and Sam.
The trailer also divulges the presence of two more Anderson go-tos: the prison-break and the elaborate heist. My favorite Anderson escape/heist themed flick has got to be The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s no Chicken Run (who doesn’t like allegories about the holocaust?) but the audacity of Mr. Fox is unprecedented—he robs three farmers blind, loses his tail and gets to come home to a truly foxy Meryl Streep. Audiences can look forward to a mustachioed Murray rescuing Fiennes from someplace dusty, and, evidently, the theft of a painting of fruit fondling in The Grand.
Anderson’s audience can also expect the usual fraying of its heartstrings by way of the strained father-son relationship. Who knows if Melver Anderson arranged kitchen knives around his sleeping son or what, but something inspired Royal Tenenbaum and Steve Zissou. Bill Murray as Zissou in The Life Aquatic is a narcissistic and revenge-crazed documentarian who denies his son’s existence before making him quit his job as a pilot and cock-blocking him from a willing Cate Blanchett. Zissou’s actions are almost as unforgivable as Royal Tenenbaum’s, who shoots his son, a young Ben Stiller, with a BB gun before stealing his savings and peacing-out. Stiller was never so harshly treated, until he was forced to wear all those bracelets in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Although The Grand does not at first glance appear to be a Cats-in-the-Cradle story, it focuses on Gustave H. and green lobby-boy Zero Moustafa, a relationship that promises as many ups and downs as Jeff Goldblum’s sexuality in The Life Aquatic. All speculation aside, we can be sure that The Grand Budapest Hotel will give us primary colors, a kick-ass soundtrack and a good time. The half-chub I got from Seu Jorge’s David Bowie covers was enough to make any movie bearable—I can only hope that The Grand can deliver the same thrills.