Comedy, Action, Caper
You laughed, you cried (of laughter), and you laughed some more. Wes Anderson's movies have always been, no matter how depressing (or, in this unusual case, action-filled) they are, comedies at their core.
The Grand Budapest is a distillation of the zany Zubrowkan society and the larger-than-life characters who inhabit it. The humor lies both in the outrageous situations—which are so elaborate and ridiculous that we can't help but laugh—and the dialogue, which develops our preposterous characters and gives us plenty of the bizarre and farcical monologues and non-sequiturs.
Then there's the blocking. The way that actors stand and move within the scene can be just as funny as the things they do or say. Anderson has a tendency to highlight the absurdity of his films by the irregular (or maybe the absurdly regular) placement of his characters. Check out what we have to say about Grand Budapest's Mode of Production for more.
This is new a new genre for Wes Anderson (and it's possibly why Grand Budapest has been his most successful film to date). The Grand Budapest's plot takes the form of an adventure of a framed concierge and his young friend.
They "steal" a painting, are accused of murder, go to jail, escape jail, go to a remote mountain location for a secret meeting and, after chasing and killing a murdering thug, infiltrate their former establishment to retrieve their "stolen" art. Oh yeah: This is all going down in the beginning of a thinly-disguised WWII.
If that sounds pretty crazy… well, it is.
More on that "stolen" art thing. Whether Gustave actually stole the painting or merely secured what was rightfully his is a point of debate. What we have on our hands, thanks to the Boy with Apple debacle, is a caper story.
A sub-genre of the more general crime fiction, a caper generally involves crime. We're not talking scary violent crime—capers usually deal with the planning and stealing of something valuable. Bonus: they usually star super-charismatic thieves that we end up rooting for.
Grand Budapest isn't your traditional, Ocean's 11-type caper film. There's no elaborate heist. However, the consequences of the missing Boy with Apple, the false murder accusation, and the prison break are what drive the action of the movie. Of course we're rooting for Zero and Gustave… even if they're not always on the side of the law.