HOTEL ARTEMIS, the feature film debut from writer/director Drew Pearce, flips the script on how we perceive villains and turns them into anti-heroes fighting for survival in a hotel filled with criminals. The film stars an A-list roster that includes Jodi Foster (The Silence of the Lambs), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Sofia Boutella (The Mummy), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Charlie Day (Pacific Rim Uprising), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek: Beyond) and Jeff Goldblum (Thor: Ragnarok).
The film takes place in the near future as riots rips through Los Angeles. In the center of all this is the Hotel Artemis – a secret, members only, emergency room where criminals can go to receive medical attention from the Nurse (Foster). After a heist goes wrong, and with nowhere to turn, Waikiki (Brown) finds himself at the Hotel Artemis. The Nurse, already dealing with an exceptionally busy night, takes Waikiki and his accomplice in, with hopes that there will be no more interruptions for the remainder of the evening. However, a call comes through that the big boss, known as The Wolf King, is set to arrive to receive emergency care. With a hotel filled with criminals, and the rules that have been in place for 22 years now broken, the Nurse must do all that she can to help her patients, herself, and an injured cop, survive the night in one piece.
Let me start off by saying that the day before seeing HOTEL ARTEMIS I had the chance to see Hereditary and did I need a film to boost my spirits after that. Though not the best movie I’ve seen this year, HOTEL ARTEMIS ended up being a lot of fun with some standout performances from Sterling K. Brown and Sofia Boutella. In terms of acting, I have to give a shout out to Boutella who kicked so much ass in this film. Having first seen her in The Mummy (which honestly, she was the best part of that film), I was looking forward to her portrayal of the mysterious character, Nice. I feel like she has a lot to offer in both talent and fierceness, I just feel as though she may not be getting the best roles to showcase that. I’m hoping that we see more from her in the future, or she gets some sort of standalone film, because there is something truly magnetic about her performances.
Sterling K. Brown was also fantastic as Waikiki and I hope that with this film under his belt we will see him in more films to come. As for the rest of the cast, they stood their ground with their performances and did the best they could do with what they were given. One of my issues with this film had to do with having so many characters vying for attention on the screen. I think with a film like this, that has such unique and compelling characters, the focus should have been on a few and not the whole as some of the performances get lost in the shuffle. Even though some of them only get a small portion of screen time it still is a lot to take in with such an isolated storyline. My only other critique, in terms of performances, had to do with Jodi Foster’s character, Nurse. I was so put-off by her accent and idiosyncrasies that I had a hard time focusing on anything else.
In terms of the story, I liked what Drew Pearce was attempting to do, I just felt like it got muddled down due to numerous storylines at play. HOTEL ARTEMIS is one of those films where each person’s task is connected in one way or another to someone else, but with so many characters the overall story becomes slightly convoluted. I think had he reigned it in a bit, and had a clearer focus, the execution could have been a lot smoother. Even with that said, there was a lot to enjoy with the overall story and I thought it was an enjoyable stab at the post-apocalyptic genre that so many films feature nowadays.
Overall, I liked what HOTEL ARTEMIS was trying to convey. I’m a fan of showing the villains as anti-heroes, as it gives them more depth and allows the audience to sympathize with the character. I think had the story been tailored back with a focus on two or three characters as opposed to six or more, the overall effect would have been much more impactful. Even so, if you go into HOTEL ARTEMIS with zero expectations you’ll enjoy the ride. Plus, we get to see Jeff Goldblum being, well, Jeff Goldblum, and honestly, that’s worth the price of admission. HOTEL ARTEMIS arrives in theaters Friday, June 8th.