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The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
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Review Date: February 25, 2000
Director: Wim Wenders
Writer: Nicholas Klein
Producers: Bono, B. Davey, W. Wenders, N. Klein, D. Nayar
Actors:
Jeremy Davies as Tom Tom
Milla Jovovich as Eloise
Mel Gibson as Skinner
Peter Stormare as Dixie
Plot:
A billionaire media mogul's son is purported to have killed himself by jumping off the roof of the Million Dollar Hotel, a downtrodden shelter which houses insane people abandoned by the health care system. The kid's father sends a FBI agent in to find the killer of his son, not willing to accept that his son would ever commit suicide.
Critique:
This was a difficult movie to rate. If I had to rate it on its story alone, I would give it a 3/10. It starts off as an interesting murder mystery but slowly disintegrates into an uninteresting melange of TWIN PEAKS meeting the good folks from the CUCKOO'S NEST, and ultimately falls flat in most categories except that of arty pretension. If I were to rate the soundtrack of this film, I would give it a 9/10. The music and sounds filled in this picture seem perfect for its environment of symbolic poetic chaos, and even manage to liven things up during the film's many dull moments. Now if I were to rate this movie on its acting alone, I would have no problem in handing it a 7/10, with Mel Gibson pulling off one of his weirdest, coolest and best roles ever. I wish they had made a movie about his one very peculiar FBI agent alone. The guy is as crazy or even crazier than all the real loonies in the building, and Gibson obviously made the most of his unfamiliar secondary role. Jeremy Davies also played a perfect nutjob, although I am starting to get a little tired of seeing Jovovich always playing her weirdo roles...I think a "normal" role for her would be "different" at this point. Peter Stormare is also unrecognizable and brilliantly funny as the insane man who talks with a Liverpool accent and truly believes that he wrote all of the Beatles' songs.

The rest of the cast is not as brilliant or original, with many of them just rounding out the cast for kicks sakes. Of course, as a black dramatic comedy, which I am assuming it is, the film did manage a few decent one-liners, but ultimately it is the so-called drama that was just too boring, existential and long-winded. The film also outstayed its welcome by about half and hour, and ultimately solved the mystery of the murder, only to leave me feeling emptier and less inclined to care than when I came in. Is this movie about egos, love and suicide, or is it just a convoluted script made to look like it's about those very subjects when really it's about a bunch of crazy people acting nuts and talking shit for over two hours? For me, it was more of the latter, and when you consider that the story is generally the most important part of a movie, I can't truly recommend this film to anyone out in the common audience. Of course, if you love U2, want to see Mel Gibson in a great, gritty, indie role or enjoy neat camera tricks every now and again, well, by all means, check into the hotel. For everyone else who doesn't really appreciate art-house fare, don't really like stories that pretend to go somewhere but ultimately end up going nowhere, and have just about had enough of movies featuring the insane passing off as "interesting eccentrics", well, buy the soundtrack and save yourself the grief.

Pay me a million bucks and I wouldn't see this movie again...okay, okay, I'm just kidding, but you get my drift.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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