The Grand Hotel Budapest

How to make 99 minutes feel like 180


– 20-odd insipid characters

– An extremely uninteresting plot

– A cardboard puppet stage

– A lively soundtrack


  • Make sure the 20-odd actors playing the 20-odd insipid characters are famous and go back a long way so as to understand their unnecessary presence in the film as cameos. It is imperative that they are all instructed not to smile or show any kind of human emotion throughout the film.

  • Build a high number of expensive cheap-looking sets and take the use of pastel colours to a whole new level. It is important that everything look aseptic, that is, neat, clean and cartoonish so as to avoid any resemblance to reality.

  • With the help of sticks glued to the lifeless characters’ backs, move these from one set to another. Just make sure you don’t tell a captivating story. Instead, stretch a hollow one by employing every one of the characters, regardless of how an irrelevant role they play, against the many different cardboard backgrounds you have worked so hard on.

  • Add an upbeat soundtrack. You will want to keep the viewer somehow awake. But be sure to leave their emotions untouched. This way, you will achieve the it-feels-longer-than-it-is effect you desire.

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