by Monica Hayes
Drew Pearce’s Hotel Artemis has all the makings of a dynamic crime-thriller but sadly falls flat.
Hotel Artemis opens up in the midst of civil unrest thanks to the city’s water supply being shut off for non-payment. The city is burning down, literally, people rioting, and the cops are trying to keep the peace. In the middle of all the chaos, we see brothers Waikiki and Honolulu and their crew in the middle of a bank job about to go horribly wrong. When things go south, and Honolulu is in need of medical treatment, the brothers make their way to a place that only accepts members. A place where there are more rules than guests. Such as no guns, no killing of patients on the premises, no cops etc. A place that only a select few only know about and their identity is kept to the room where they will stay. A place where all medical treatment is handled by an agoraphobic, liquor drinking Nurse (Jodie Foster) with a mysterious past and her gentle giant assistant Everest (Dave Bautista) with a Zen-like demeanor.
Once the brothers arrive, things get interesting when Waikiki realizes that current patients Femme Fatale, Nice (Sophia Boutella) and the pain in the ass arms dealer Acapulco (Charlie Day) are already there. To make matters worse, the current owner, the Wolf King aka Niagara (Jeff Goldblum) is hurt and on his way. Add to the mix a blast from the past, Morgan (Jenny Slate), a cop who knew the nurse as Mrs. Thomas from back in the day, is at the hotel’s door in need of medical treatment. As you can expect, the shenanigans that are about to occur will have you on the edge of your seat.
If Artemis’s premise looks familiar, but you just can’t put your finger on why it does, just look back to the Continental Hotel in John Wick. With its membership only status and the familiar rule of “no business is to be conducted on Continental grounds,” Artemis seems like a second-hand ripoff. Also with its all-star cast, Artemis has all the makings of an excellent summertime crime thriller but falls flat due to lack of character development. As the movie progresses, we learn the struggles of how the Nurse obtained her position at the Artemis but that is about it. The audience is left with more questions such as; how did Everest become her assistant? How do Waikiki and Nice know each other? Why did Waikiki return? What is with Nice’s “Don’t cross my line”? Just to name a few.
Overall, don’t’ get me wrong, the action, the one-liners, and the soundtrack are great, and it was much better than expected, but with its shortfalls, it could have been way better had the time been taken with character development, and better script writing.
by Tim Gordon
In the near future, Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster) is a nurse who runs a secret hospital for criminals in Los Angeles called Hotel Artemis.
It’s Los Angeles 2028 and the citizens of the City of Angels are up in arms and rioting because a private company has taken control of the water supply. As crime is running rampant a group of criminals, led by Brown are wounded and in need of care. Luckily, for them, there is room at the premier hospital for criminals, the Hotel Artemis where the nurse treats a host of undesirables. Much like the premise of The Hateful Eight, ten criminals are soon trapped inside this penthouse medical fortress, including the top crime boss in the city, the Wolf of Los Angeles and his approval-seeking son.
Each character has their own ulterior motives, alliances are revisited, there is a huge contract on the table and one character who is carrying a mountain of guilt over the loss of a loved one.
There are those who compare this to John Wick, which is not entirely accurate. The fact that the hospital is similar to the criminal hotel from that film, this film is more of a study of the motives of a crew of shady characters and what makes them tick.
In her first appearance on-screen in five years, two-time Oscar winner Foster brings a heightened level of gravitas to an otherwise solid story, elevating it to an impressive piece of cinematic art. Her pairing with Bautista offers their share of comedy gold. Kudos to Brown as well for his compassionate turn as a criminal mastermind who ends up with an item that could get them all killed. He is an actor that deserves to headline a major motion picture very soon.
Written and directed by Drew Pearce, in his directorial debut, the film stars Jodie Foster (in her first appearance on-screen in five years), Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Dave Bautista, and Zachary Quinto.
The film is a welcome slice of summer fun featuring engaging performances from Boutella, Goldblum, Slate, as well as Bautista, Brown and the film’s emotional center, Foster. I truly enjoyed this film . . .
Listen to the audio review, below: