The Winter Olympics ended three weeks ago. For those still suffering withdrawal symptoms, an unlikely source might offer some unlikely relief.
An action movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is not. Wes Anderson sets his storybook confection somewhere in Mitteleuropa mostly between the two wars. Its spun-sugar artifice makes Anderson’s previous film, “Moonrise Kingdom,” seem like “On the Waterfront” by comparison.
But wait! There’s a sequence toward the end that suggests Anderson may be a secret Winter X Games watcher. Willem Dafoe’s evil psychopath, Jopling, has ridden his motorcycle to a mountaintop monastery, where he commits a murder. He puts on a pair of skis to make his escape. Unwilling to let him get away, Ralph Fiennes’s M. Gustave and Tony Revolori’s Zero leap on a sled and give chase. What ensues is equal parts grand slalom, ski jump, and bobsled — with a generous helping of extreme-sports hanging-it-out-there thrown in for good measure.
Just so we don’t get the idea that Anderson is angling for a job at Industrial Light & Magic, he shoots the sequence with a kind of anti-CGI, a combination of miniatures and stop-motion that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1938, when the action takes place. Back then, in fact, it would have been state of the art. Imagine what it would look like in IMAX 3-D.
In the meantime, the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Games is scheduled for Feb. 9, 2018. Let the countdown begin.