The Death of Film Criticism
The Grand Budapest Hotel
I braved yet another cold, gray, late-winter day to catch Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Being the center of an almost religious cult of fans has its drawbacks—the true believers become insufferable and the haters gotta hate something. It is a most unfortunate situation. The film itself is magnificent in almost every aspect: direction, cinematography, actors, music, art and graphic design (it could be a textbook!), with a madcap plot and even subtle historical allegories. What's not to like?
The problem for me was that the build up to the film was so dramatic and pervasive (thanks to the internet and its army of film reviewers) that what should have been a joyous trip of discovery was diminished by overexposure. It's my own fault, and I knew it going in. There was so much information on the internet, so much really fun eye candy and provocative writing available, that I felt powerless to resist its allure. It was something of an experiment (read as: rationalization) to see just how far I could go with it. I went too far. I almost wish I had known nothing about it before I saw it.
So, I learned my lesson. No more film criticism, no more "b-rolls" and "making of" features, no YouTube clips or multiple trailers on upcoming movies. I'll try to go in cold, without conscious (or sub-conscious) prejudices, an open mind and heart and hope for the best—at least as far as Wes Anderson is concerned. All these previews and reviews didn't ruin the film for me (it's a hoot!) but they did take away some of the surprise and awe. I'm already looking forward to see it again.