Hotel Artemis - 2018
Director(s): Drew Pearce
Writer(s): Drew Pearce
Cinematography by: Chung-hoon Chung
Editor(s): Gardner Gould and Paul Zucker
Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day and Dave Bautista
Synopsis: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, 'Hotel Artemis' follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals (IMDB).
Hey – did you like the hotel chain featured in John Wick? The intriguing mystery as to how it’s run and the great world-building performed while Wick stayed there? The luxury and creativity of the hotel and the staff? Would you love to stay there for 1hr and 37min? Well, it was booked, but the Motel 6-looking one down the road was available and we are going to try to make it work. Welcome to Hotel Artemis. While this hotel focuses more on fixing up their criminal members, it still employs the same set of rules – no killing allowed inside the premises, and these criminals aren’t so keen on respecting the rules on this night. Who would’ve seen that coming from the criminals?
The story is set in the year 2028, when the world is falling completely apart, but technology is far ahead of our current time. Hotel Artemis is one of many underground hospitals for the criminal world that is run by the crime lord of the West Coast. It’s run by the Nurse, played by the sorely missed Jodie Foster, a broken woman trying to escape the demons from her past, and on the day of the biggest riots of Los Angeles her hotel is fully booked and things go horribly wrong.
Drew Pearce wrote and directed a world that makes the audiences sit-up and pay attention. You want to know more of this world and you want to inhabit it for as long as you can. I was intrigued by the technology, by the rules and by the dystopian future its set in. But, for every second Pearce spent selling me his world is a second he took away from writing and developing compelling and intriguing characters. Outside of the Nurse – I’ll circle back to her – there is nothing unique or noteworthy about the rest of the characters. They are as interchangeable as the 3D printed organs inserted into the wounded criminals. We have a generic crime boss, generic good guy criminal, generic assassin and generic arms dealers. The hotel ended up feeling more human and complex than its human guests.
Quick note: Chung-hoon Chung (It, Oldboy, Stoker and The Handmaiden) is one of my favorite working cinematographers and this movie was a bit of a letdown. Like the characters, I walked away without a single sequence or scene that stuck in my head. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.
The Nurse walked with short precise steps, headphones on and her I-Pad hanging from her shoulders always ready to save the life of her guests. She was calculated, level minded and always in control in an environment, making her the most interesting part of the entire cast. Not that the rest were bad - they made the best of what they got handed. Sterling K. Brown and Dave Bautista are warm and engaging despite displaying their prowess in violence. Sofia Boutella and Charlie Day are their usual selves but I always love their screen presence. Jeff Goldblum is wasted and that’s the biggest sin this movie commits.
Hotel Artemis is a fun ride, but it’s one that flees your mind as soon as the credits roll. It’s the type of hotel you only book on Groupon and wouldn’t pay full price like the one featured in John Wick. Drew Pearce showcased a great ability to do some world building, he simply forgot to fill up that world with compelling and intriguing characters. Jodie Foster showcased her acting range once again, begging the question, where has she been all this time? This movie marks the first leading role for Jodie Foster in far too long. She took what could’ve been your typical broken anti-hero lead and gave her depth through her physicality and facial expressions. Hopefully this is the first of many to come. Foster is why I love movies.
Hotel Artemis is currently playing in theaters. Wait for it to hit Netflix.
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