Movie Review: Hotel Artemis
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Director: Drew Pearce
by Jason Koenigsberg
Hotel Artemis is a stylish, futuristic thriller with a great cast. It builds a Los Angeles of the near future, June 21, 2028 to be precise, that is partially post-apocalyptic, mostly John Wick (2014) and a lot like The Purge movies. Sadly, this hotel is all style and decor. No substance or reason to stay other than how great the sets and stark lighting scheme are.
The film opens up with some futuristic news footage of a riot and then a blood trail on the floor leading up to a bank robbery. This ingratiates the audience into the world the filmmakers are able to create. One must give them credit to the detail of the LA they drop the us into, only wishing they had more to do and say once we are in their shadowy metropolis. We then meet Jodie Foster who manages and runs the hotel which is a safe haven for criminals and follows strict rules that they remind us of Fight Club (1999). The look of Hotel Artemis is also strikingly similar to that movie as well.
Jodie Foster seems to be having fun in the lead role cast very against type. The whole time it seems as if she is doing her best Frances McDormand impersonation. Hotel Artemis has a huge cast but many were miscast or feel as if they could have done better, only Dave Bautista stands out as the tough orderly of the hotel/hospital for those seeking refuge outside of the law. Jeff Goldblum was also great in his very small role. The rest were either passable or nothing special. Sophia Boutella is doing her best Gal Gadot imitation and hoping that things go so terrible at DC they scrap all their current plans and recast their heroes from scratch and this is a great audition for her to play Wonder Woman. The only truly terrible performance was from Zachary Quinto who I did not buy for one second as the spoiled son of a crime lord. Take his few scenes out of Hotel Artemis and it probably would have been a better movie.
Hotel Artemis takes place during the “most violent riots in the history of LA” and these riots are meant to reflect those after the Rodney King verdict since it takes place in the same city. The film is a sly commentary on law enforcement and makes Los Angeles look like a gilded city, a paradise for rich people but a cesspool for those without wealth. People all probably realize LA is one of the most superficial cities in the world, but Hotel Artemis feels the need to impress that fact on the viewer. This movie was an even more blatant social satire on our current healthcare system and even only wealthy criminals have to pay to be members to stay at the hotel and receive medical treatment. We see Dave Bautista’s character throw out a wounded bank robber early on since he was not an exclusive member.
After the first half hour once the audience has entered the world of Hotel Artemis the movie really does not have much else to do or say. It drags and feels a lot longer than only 94 minutes. They do make clever use of a 3D printer to make human organs, but the rest of Hotel Artemis is a lot of riots, violence, profanity and nothing worth noting.
Skip Hotel Artemis and instead check out Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days (1995) one of the most underrated movies of the 1990’s with a distinctive look and one of the smartest social commentaries about police brutality and race relations regarding the LAPD and a smart techno savvy thriller that still holds up.