No introduction. A bass plays. Its strings produce a deep tone. Enter a saxophone, deftly played. A drum keeps the beat. A trumpet joins the medley. This ensemble works together, producing an off-beat, syncopated masterpiece of sweet, sweet jazz. Arranging this wholesome piece of music takes genuine talent. No matter how gifted the musicians, there needs to be someone who arranges the piece. The saxophone being played by the busker near my house is on point; the accompanying tinny elevator music is not.
In film, the director is charged with a similar job: to weave together a cogent fabric of screenplay, cinematography and acting. Director, producer and screenplay writer, Wes Anderson, did just that with award-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). This year’s Oscars have come and gone and the much-loved comedy did not fail to disappoint. Nominated for several Academy Awards, the film won an Oscar for Best Original Score.
Yet the seamless composition of Alexandre Desplat was not the only one to be recognised. Awarded for its costume design and production design also, The Grand Budapest Hotel was celebrated for being an all-round-pretty-film; an ensemble conducted beautifully by Anderson. If you’ve seen any of his previous work, you’ll know what to expect. His style is instantly recognisable: pastel shades, quirky costumes - Bill Murray cameos. What’s not to like? Take the eponymous hotel, a work of art in itself, perfectly encapsulating the signature style of the film’s creator.
There is a certain charm to all of Anderson’s films, every part working together to produce a kooky, precisely off-beat experience. From comedy-drama The Life Aquatic to eccentric love story Moonrise Kingdom, like a classic Herbie Hancock jazz track, the parts come together creating a work of art.
Award-winning soundtrack aside, watching the finely tuned aesthetic arrangement of Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel will leave you visually awestruck. And, like the infectious beat of your favourite jazz track, prepare to be swept away by its charm time and time again.
Words: Aaron Lambley
Image Source: 20th Century Fox / Wes Anderson