Look, this is going to be a short one as I had a technical hiccup and I was rushed for time so this is going to be a very quick review.
‘Hotel Artemis’ is written and directed by Drew Pearce, who wrote the screen plays for ‘Iron Man 3’ and ‘Mission Impossible’ and this marks his directorial debut for a feature film.
‘Hotel Artemis’ has several interesting plots surrounding a group of criminals taking shelter in a hospital during an LA riot over privatisation of water, which is run by The Nurse, who is played by Jodie Foster and a man named Everest, played by Dave Bautista. It is basically revolving around a number of plots, one of which is about a crime kingpin, played by Jeff Goldblum. A bunch of bank robbers try to hide out after making a horrible mistake, one of which is played by Stirling K. Brown and an assassin played by Sophie Boutella and also, for some reason Charlie Day is in this, even though he doesn’t contribute much to the actual film. ‘Hotel Artemis’ is probably one of the most average films all year; it is padded as hell in its plot, which I get sense was meant to be a much shorter film; it only runs at an hour and a half but it feels like it goes on a lot longer. And that’s the thing: they add too many subplots. It kind of suffers from the same issue that ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ suffered from where it has too many characters all fighting for screen time. The difference here is that all of these plots converge on one so as a result, every character has a meaning to be her. Well, you don’t exactly have a Celia Imerie in this case.
Frankly, it also feels like this film is, well, just there. The action scenes are actually shot nice and the cinematography is pretty good but as a whole the film is rather jarring. The futuristic technology is really rather interesting given that this film is set 10 years from now, in the year 2028, which undoubtedly is going to date the film at some point. And it clearly has taken influence from ‘John Wick’. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Keanu Reeves turns up dressed as the character halfway through the film. The problem is, the film simply doesn’t have enough substance to it, like the ‘John Wick’ films do. I know the ‘John Wick’ films, at the end of the day, are pretty simplistic but they work as a whole. I get the sense that this one has a lot of ambition but doesn’t quite live up to its ambition.
It’s alright, but that being said, I kind of had some fun with the film. It’s not a terrible film, all things considered. It’s actually genuinely decent. There were some good performances, particularly from Jodie Foster and Dave Bautista who, despite the fact that they sound like the weirdest pairing in the world, actually do quite well playing off one another. And of course, Jeff Goldblum is entertaining in anything he’s in. But then again, that’s because he’s Jeff ‘freakin’ Goldblum. And the film has been very much sold on its cast. This film has one of the best all star casts in recent memory but as I’ve said of other films: a cast does not make a film and ‘Hotel Artemis’ really suffers from that. Charlie Day, for example. Not only does his character not have too much reason to be there, he just kind of does the same performance that he did in the recent ‘Pacific Rim’ film and I don’t really like him all that much in that film. Fortunately, his character is much better so it suits this film.
The film also has a few contrivances to the plot which make you go, “Really?” However, on the other hand it does alright, all things considered. I have certainly seen many plots that have tried to pull tis off in much worse ways. Again, this is really just Jodie Foster’s gig: she’s front and centre for pretty much all of the film. Although, I also have to once again commend Dave Batista, who has proven to be one of the big successes of wrestler turned actor.
‘Hotel Artemis’ though is dripping in style. There’s a lot of good style to this. I’ve already mentioned about the technology but there are some interesting ideas here, such as 3D printers creating new organs and laser scalpels. Ideas that would not seem that out of place in what we know of how medical science is advancing. As I’ve mentioned, the cinematography and direction are particularly good. Drew Pearce knows how to shoot action. And particularly, some of the scenes with Sophia Patel really prove that; she is finally given a role that she deserves.
The thing is though, as I’m writing this, ‘Hotel Artemis’ is a film that I feel so unmotivated to write about since it elicits not much out of me. ‘Hotel Artemis’ is probably one of the weaker films I saw all year. It really has not much to it and I can’t really recommend seeing it in a cinema. I grant you I think it looks better than the current releases; I certainly would recommend it over the new ‘Mamma Mia’ and that’s without even seeing that film. And no, I have no intention of doing so. But I certainly wouldn’t say that this is one to rush out to, considering what is coming up in listings. This is one that I reckon you should get as a rental from Amazon when it comes out, or if it comes up on Netflix it might be worth a watch. It’s another film that kind of thinks it’s a bit smarter than it is but when it does embrace its style, it really does quite well.
Well, again, sorry for the shorter review but I was pressed for time. I’m unfortunately going to be gone for 2 weeks so there will be 2 weeks without Film Society reviews but when back, I will be giving my thoughts on the new Marvell movies, with ‘Ant-Man and ‘The Wasp’.
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