'Hotel Artemis' Gives A Not-So-Subtle Glimpse Of A Cartoony Dystopic Near Future

By James Jay Edwards
Released: June 8, 2018
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Synopsis
Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, 'Hotel Artemis' follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.

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Film Review
Production
The year is 2028, the city is Los Angeles, and the Hotel Artemis is essentially a hospital for criminals, run by a nurse named Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster from The Silence of the Lambs) and an orderly known as Everest (Dave Bautista from Guardians of the Galaxy). For a membership fee, bad guys can check in and get fixed up when they're wounded, keeping off of the radar of law enforcement.

Sterling K. Brown and Jodie Foster in HOTEL ARTEMIS. Photo credit: Matt Kennedy / Distributor: Global Road Entertainment.


When riots over the lack of clean water throw the city into an uproar, the Artemis has a busy night. Guests include a pair of bank robbing brothers (Sterling K. Brown from "This is Us" and Brian Tyree Henry from "Atlanta"), a shifty arms dealer (Pacific Rim: Uprising's Charlie Day), and a sultry assassin (Atomic Blonde's Sofia Boutella). Tensions run higher when the owner of the "hospital," a crime boss called The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum from Isle of Dogs), is unceremoniously brought in by his obnoxious son (Aardvark's Zachary Quinto). Of course, the plot thickens when the motivations of the patients cross paths and conflict with each other.

Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry in HOTEL ARTEMIS. Photo courtesy WME Global/Global Road Entertainment.


Hotel Artemis is the feature directorial debut from screenwriter Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation). Influence for the Artemis itself seems to draw heavily from the Continental Hotel in the John Wick universe, which is a neutral territory hotel that functions as a safe haven for contract killers and hit men. The premise is promising enough, and Hotel Artemis does have an intriguing first act or so, but eventually, like most action movies, it devolves into a typical siege-and-escape flick.

The characters in the film, all mostly anonymous criminals who are referred to only by their international city-themed room named (the arms dealer is Acapulco, the assassin is Nice, and the bank robbers are Waikiki and Honolulu), are a fun and nefarious bunch, but they're kind of wasted by a plot that only has them tangentially connect. Sure, there are common threads that bind them all together, and some of those threads are clever and unexpected, but there's very little actual interaction between them, and what there is winds up feeling forced and inorganic.

Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto and Jodie Foster in HOTEL ARTEMIS. Photo credit: Matt Kennedy / Distributor: Global Road Entertainment.


It sounds weird to have to consider the authenticity of the relationships in a slightly-futuristic dystopian movie like Hotel Artemis, but the fact is that the world itself is pretty well-crafted, and frighteningly, it seems as if it could actually turn into reality sooner than later, especially within the context of the subtle political digs that are peppered throughout the movie. And the characters are all suitably cartoonish. It's the situations that those fun characters are forced into within the economically developed cinematic world that come off as half-baked.

In another multiverse, Hotel Artemis is a The Purge sequel showing where the criminals go on the one night a year that they're not criminals. And that would explain why, like The Purge and its sequels, Hotel Artemis turns into just another shoot-em-up action movie. It's fine for what it is, but it could have been much more.

Sofia Boutella and Charlie Day in HOTEL ARTEMIS. Photo credit: Matt Kennedy / Distributor: Global Road Entertainment.
Acting
The cast of Hotel Artemis is way too accomplished to be in a cut-rate siege movie. Jodie Foster is a two-time Oscar winner, Jeff Goldblum is an Oscar nominee, and Sterling K. Brown has a Golden Globe. Luckily, each and every member of the cast realizes exactly what kind of movie they are in, so they play their roles to melodramatic perfection. The walk-off star of the film is Dave Bautista, whose Everest ("you know why they call him Everest? I think you do.") subtly steals every scene that he is in, especially once the tide turns and the film becomes an action flick. Sofia Boutella (who, to counteract the other cast members' accolades, has a Razzie nomination for The Mummy) also shines once the fists start pumping and the kicks start flying. The action stars are the standouts, but every actor is capable, so the collective performance of the ensemble in Hotel Artemis is the strongest element of the movie.

Dave Bautista and Jodie Foster in HOTEL ARTEMIS. Photo courtesy WME Global/Global Road Entertainment.



Genres
Action, Crime, Sci-Fi
Release Date
June 8, 2018
MPAA Rating
R
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