The Palace

The Palace

It’s 1999. The eve before the new millennium beckons. Cold, frosty and excessively rich folk check into a five-star hotel in Roman Polanski’s thinly disguised remake of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and it’s every bit as tiring as you can imagine. 

Sporting a roster of has-beens and wish-you-hadn’ts, the plot precariously pivots upon the much-believed destruction that the Y2K bug will bring. Take Brexit levels of paranoia, throw in a computer or two and bring to the boil with the belief that the world’s monetary systems can’t numerically accommodate the year 2000, and you have the y2K computer bug. Planes will crash, commodities will slide and life as we know it will cease to exist in a snowball of pre-millennial angst and antagonism. Yet this film similarly depends on 2022’s Triangle of Sadness to feed off, none of the above stuff happened. 

Instead, it wheels out John Cleese with a yee-haw accent, a pneumatically-enhanced child bride by his side and a retinue of hangers-on that would dissolve into apoplexy should they realise that he’s dead before the New Year’s credits roll. Mickey Rourke similarly finds gainful employment as a faded fashionista looking to financially profit from the hysteria. However, neither his wattage nor Fanny Ardent’s charm can wrench this enterprise off the iceberg it’s so determined to skewer itself on.

Ultimately, lapsing into crude body humour and cliches that would be embarrassed to be pulled in such a limp Christmas cracker, Polanski hulls his reputation further with a movie that is far worse than any headline.