The adventures of a young lobby boy and the concierge who takes him under his wing, revolving around the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are multiple narratives framing the main story, which takes place in central Europe, on the brink of World War II. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a sumptuous resort where Monsieur Gustave H., the concierge, is universally adored and possibly the Hotel's greatest asset. Gustave notices the young lobby boy Zero and, after a prompt interview, takes him under his wing.
When one of the Grand Budapest's regular visitors, Madame D., dies, Gustave quickly makes the trip to her mansion to pay his respects, taking Zero with him. Once there, Gustave has an unpleasant confrontation with the late Madame's son Dmitri, and proceeds to steal a priceless painting he believes he is entitled to.
Alas, things do not go smoothly. Gustave finds himself accused of murder and is imprisoned. The faithful Zero, together with his betrothed Agatha, devise a plan to help Gustave break free. The plan is successful, but Gustave must still clear his name. He and Zero travel to a snowy covenant to find the one who accused him, but they are too late. They are confronted by Dmitri's right-hand man, whom they dispose of.
The imminent war takes its toll on the luxurious Grand Budapest, which is turned into a military barracks. A final confrontation is staged in its hallways, with Gustave, Zero and Agatha, as well as Dmitri trying to recover the painting. After a comical shootout where everyone is perplexingly unhurt, the secret will of Madame D. comes to light. It is written that her considerable fortune is now rightfully Gustave's.
Unfortunately, the troubled times catch up to Gustave, with Zero being left to tell his story.
Best part of story, including ending:
The film plays like a Rube Goldberg machine, the intricate details synchronize to produce something wholly simple but difficult to achieve: a story of meaning, wit and charm.
Best scene in story:
Possibly my favourite moment is one cut, or rather the lack thereof, when Gustave is informed that he is accused of murder. There is a moment of pause, after which Gustave makes a run for it up the hotel stairs, even though we know, and he surely does too, that he's not getting away. The comic effect is enhanced by the editor's decision not to cut away to a shot of Gustave running, but rather stay with the long shot, allowing the absurdity of the situation sink in.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked the growing bond between Zero and Monsieur Gustave, and the way in which Zero takes his job deadly serious, even correcting a fellow bell boy on his improper conduct, despite the poor novice providing crucial information to our heroes.