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Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis

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Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis, often simply called Dmitri, is the main antagonist of Wes Anderson's 2014 film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. He is the greedy son of a widowed noblewoman of the Eastern European Republic of Zubrowka, and seeks to buy off or kill anyone between him and his mother's fortune. He is portrayed by Adrien Brody.

Plot

Dmitri is first seen in 1932 at the reading of the will of his late mother, Countess Celine Villeneuve Desgoffe-und-Taxis (or "Madame D." for short), accompanied by his assistant and enforcer, J.G. Jopling. He learns that while he and his three sisters will inherit the bulk of his mother's fortune, her most valuable possession, a painting titled "Boy With Apple," will be left to her friend and lover, a hotel concierge named Gustave H. A pre-existing enmity seems to exist between Dmitri and Gustave, who insults the latter's sexuality on several occasions. Correctly deducing that Dmitri will not let any part of his mother's fortune escape him, Gustave and his protege, the lobby boy Zero Moustafa, steal the painting later that night, accompanied by Madame D.'s butler Serge and maid Clotilde. When the medical examiner reports that Madame D. had in fact been murdered by poison, Dmitri and Jopling threaten Serge's life until he accuses Gustave of the crime and has him sent to prison; Serge subsequently flees the household. It is implied, though not expressly stated, that Dmitri and Jopling are behind the murder, as a bottle of strychnine is at one point seen on the latter's desk.

Dmitri is next seen attempting to bribe his mother's lawyer, Kovacs, into giving him and his sisters sole control of the fortune; when Kovacs remains adamant that he represents Madame D.'s interests, not Dmitri's, Jopling kills Kovacs' pet cat, and then Kovacs himself later that night. Dmitri next sends Jopling to torture and kill Serge's sister, the only person with whom Serge has been corresponding, for information on his whereabouts. In the meantime, Gustave has escaped from prison and, with the aid of Zero and the Society of the Crossed Keys, a secret society of hotel concierges, also tracks down Serge, who is hiding in a mountaintop monastery at Gabelmeister's Peak. Serge discloses that Madame D. drafted a second will, prescribing a different heir should she be murdered (he reveals the existence of a copy of this second will, the original second will conceivably destroyed by Dmitri), but Serge is garroted by Jopling before he can say where it is hidden; shortly thereafter, Jopling is also killed in the ensuing fight with Gustave and Zero when the latter pushes him from a precipice.

Dmitri is seen entering the Grand Budapest as war in Zubrowka becomes imminent. The hotel has, at this point become "a troop's barracks," under the control of a Fascist movement in the region (the Zig-Zag Division, of which Dmitri is a part, as evidenced by a ZZ armband and pin he wears). Zero's fiancee, Agatha, is sent into the Grand Budapest to retrieve Boy With Apple, using instructions left by Zero, Gustave and Zero following her into the hotel (once they spot Dmitri entering), disguised as pastry deliverymen. Dmitri successfully (albeit by chance) discovers Agatha smuggling Boy With Apple, and proceeds to pursue her. However, he loses sight of her and runts into Gustave and Zero instead. He ultimately corners both within a service elevator, firing various shots in their general direction, which sparks an impromptu shootout with several soldiers boarding the hotel. Lutz Police Militia officer Henckels arrives, attempting to put an end to the shooting by placing everyone in sight under arrest. Meanwhile, Agatha (still thinking Dmitri is in her pursuit) falls from a window on the sixth floor of the Grand Budapest, Zero diving in behind her (and falling himself). They manage to spot the second will hidden behind Boy With Apple as they precariously hang from a railing. The Second Copy of the Second Will is successfully retrieved, along with Boy With Apple. Henckels pores over the contents of the copy of the second will, which names M. Gustave as sole heir in the event of Mme. D's death by murder. Gustave is vindicated and the now-penniless Dmitri flees for his life, never to be seen again.

Notes

  • Dmitri's ultimate fate is unclear, though he would almost certainly be deceased by 1986, where the film's framing device takes place.
  • Dmitri has three sisters who are often seen with him, and who jointly inherit Madame D.'s estate. All are just as greedy and sinister-looking as he is, but they do not serve as direct antagonists and it is unknown if they were also involved in their mother's death.
  • It is mentioned in Mme. D's obituary (as well as very subtly throughout the film) that she was not a good mother (the obituary reveals she beat her children with pine switches, and her half-brother states she may not have been a good mother to her progeny—she also held the sum of the Desgoffe-und-Taxis fortune in life, suggesting her children saw very little of it whilst she was alive). This may give further depth to Dmitri's motives beyond superficial greed.

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