I sympathize with those naysayers. I can’t deny that his films have an insular, fussed-over quality that sets them a little too far away from what most of us consider real life. It’s tempting to be turned off by the certainty that he spent as much time worrying about the art direction and costumes as he did about the script and actors.
But if your creative antennae are tuned to the same wavelength as Anderson’s, his films are delightful, not distancing. The dollhouse quality is a portal into a fantastic new world bathed in melancholy and offbeat humor.
I’m on Team Wes. And if he has never again quite reached the heights of 1998’s Rushmore, one of my favorite films ever, he’s also never released a film that isn’t worth revisiting.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson’s eighth feature film, is his best since The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, or maybe even The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s funny and sad and formally brilliant. Ralph Fiennes gives a fabulous comedic performance that makes you wonder why the man has avoided comedy throughout his career. I hope he’s recognized come Oscar time.
Sure, Anderson makes the same sort of movie every time, but nobody else working today makes movies anything like his.