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Hungary for some more; Wonderful hotel caper is well worth checking out - and not just for Fiennes's star role.

RALPH Fiennes steals the show in this witty, pretty caper from quirky indie director Wes Anderson, who gave us Moonrise Kingdom and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Fiennes plays Gustave, a concierge at the titular hotel in the 1930s, in a magical, fictional Alpine town that can only resist the oncoming war for so long.

After inheriting a valuable painting from one of his many wealthy lovers Madame D (Tilda Swinton), Gustave makes an enemy of her family and winds up in prison accused of her murder.

The plot may sound a bit dark but the tone is chirpy and comical, with a terrific performance from The Grand Budapest Hotel 100mins 15 Fiennes as the fragrant hotelier who keeps a bottle of L'Air de Panache on hand for every occasion.

Newcomer Tony Revolori is delightful as his super-keen lobby boy Zero, who faithfully accompanies his boss on eventful train journeys and various madcap adventures.

The rest of the cast is wall-to-wall starry as regular Anderson collaborators Bill Murray and Owen Wilson pop in, while key parts are played by Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Paul Schlase and many more.

The film opens with Tom Wilkinson as a writer telling Zero's story, and periodically flashes back to Jude Law as Wilkinson's younger self, staying at the not-so-Grand Budapest Hotel in the 1960s.

The fussy visual style mostly works to the film's advantage. The costumes are decorative and the mere sight of the pastel cakes baked by Zero's love interest Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) will have your tummy rumbling.

Like most of Anderson's films - and Gustave himself - the film is rather pleased with itself, but its exuberant humour and pacy plot keep it accessible, while Fiennes delivers his funniest role ever.

10 second review Best quote: "What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living s*** out of a snivelling little runt called Pinky Bandinski... he's actually became a dear friend."

Best bit: Gustave's hasty interview with Zero when they first meet.

Worst bit: Some plot points are hard to follow.

If you liked.. The Fantastic Mr Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, Intolerable Cruelty'll like this


GOING UP? Fiennes, centre, with Revolori, right

IN LOVE Zero (Tony Revolori) and Agatha (Saoirse Ronan)
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 7, 2014
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