Hotel Artemis (2018)

Hotel Artemis
Director: Drew Pearce
Writer: Drew Pearce
Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista, Kenneth Choi
Seen on: 8.11.2020

Hotel Artemis is a safe haven in the middle of Los Angeles, a LA in full crisis mode. All the criminals can come here in case of medical emergency, knowing they will be cared for by the Nurse (Jodie Foster) and Everest (Dave Bautista) without having to fear the police – or each other. Only called by their room names, Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) brings in his brother Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry) after he got shot during a robbery. But some serious shit is about to hit the fan at the usually peaceful Hotel Artemis.

Hotel Artemis, unfortunately, sounds way cooler than it is. Despite the great cast and some very nice ideas, it just never finds its feet.

The film poster showing the main characters of the film with art deco ornaments around them.

Hotel Artemis feels like a film that took the safe haven idea of the hotels in John Wick and just ran with that. But contrary to John Wick, the world-building here is patchy. We never really understand what is going on in Los Angeles and I would have much preferred if the mood outside the hotel had been less apocalyptic because the story wanted to focus on the Artemis anyway – as did I.

But that was just the first sign that the film has trouble focusing, as it jumps from character to character and from story to story. The Nurse gets the most emotional focus and Jodie Foster knows what she’s doing, but her part feels a little stale in its trope characterization. (On a sidenote: if she had been a man, there is no way her moniker would have been the Nurse. Why the fuck wasn’t she called the Doctor?)

Everest (Dave Bautista) and the Nurse (Jodie Foster) talking.

The most potential, I thought, lay with Waikiki and Nice (Sofia Boutella), though that is probably more to do with the charsima of Brown and Boutella than with any particular thing in the script. In any case, the film doesn’t really do much with them after set-up. It should have.

There are a few nice appearances from well-known faces (my favorite was Jenny Slate, because I love her and she is so pretty and so good) and I really liked the set design and Artemis’ art deco style. But overall the film is a little too much all over the place and gives us too much predictability to really work more than average.

Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) holding up a pen.

Summarizing: okay, but should have been better.

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