The Grand Budapest Hotel) feels uninspiring and prosaic. Taking the role of personal secretary and right-hand man to a wealthy factory owner Karl (Alan Rickman), ambitious engineer Friedrich (played with wide-eyed naivety by Game of Thrones' Richard Madden) finds himself indispensable to his ailing boss. When the older man becomes too ill to attend to normal business affairs on his own, he talks his young confidante into taking a room in the home he shares with his son and young wife, Lotte (Rebecca Hall). Even the less discerning viewer should be able to guess where the tale goes from here.
Leconte's confidence with the English language seems a little shaky, and that problem manifests itself in the very mannered and awkward performances he extracts from an otherwise more than capable cast. The trio lack any real spark, while the biggest waste of all is the woefully underused Rickman as the cuckolded husband. But it isn't just the actors who under-perform. The production as a whole has a distinctly amateur feel to it, from the distractingly jerky camera work to the sloppy visual metaphors and painfully obvious 'stolen moments' between Madden and Hall. Leconte has certainly assembled a cracking creative team, including cinematographer Eduardo Serra and the late Anthony Minghella's frequent collaborator, composer Gabriel Yared. Alas, their efforts are muted here. The only promise fans of Leconte should be asking for is that the French director refrain from delivering such sub-par works as this ever again.