Critic Matt Zoller Seitz on the films of Wes Anderson. Seitz is the author of this book.
He doesn’t hit a lot of the sweet spots that someone like Christopher Nolan hits, he’s a little more specialized than that. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that his movies are a lot of things at once, and some of the things that are going on at once are contradictory things. They are very, very heavily stylized to the point where people have accused them of being live action cartoons. There is no one extreme self consciousness to the way the stories are told and that is part of the story. I mean, often he tells stories that are framed as stories and in a lot of cases there are actual storytellers there telling you the story on screen in some way. Like The Life Aquatic is presented as almost a Steve Zissou film. Rushmore is broken up by curtains being drawn apart as if you are seeing a stage production by the hero of the film, Max Fisher. He goes even further in his later films where you get something like The Fantastic Mr. Fox which is a straight up adaptation of a Roald Dahl novel that is done in a style that suggests storybook illustrations. The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is this Russian nesting doll situation where you got a young woman reading a book which becomes an interview with an old novelist which becomes a recollection of how the novelist met this man who inspired him to write the novel which we saw the girl reading in the first place. So you know this is not ‘sit down, let me tell you a story.’