Review: Hotel Artemis

Hotel Artemis
7 10

PLOT: In a riot-plagued, futuristic Los Angeles, a no-nonsense nurse (Jodie Foster) runs a secret clinic for criminals called Hotel Artemis. The rules? No cops and no killing, but it turns out those are rules the other patients and even the nurse herself are going to have a hard time following when the city’s biggest kingpin (Jeff Goldblum) checks-in.

REVIEW: While it’s taken a bit of heat for being derivative of JOHN WICK’s Continental mythology, HOTEL ARTEMIS is a perfectly serviceable B-movie in its own right that scratches a different kind of itch. If JOHN WICK harkens back to the glory days of John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat, Drew Pearce’s HOTEL ARTEMIS is more indebted to classic forties film noir, and despite a few rocky patches, makes for a pulpy good time at the movies.

It’s helped immeasurably by a particularly good cast, here led by the always great Jodie Foster, in her first role since ELYSIUM. Always a pro, Foster makes her agoraphobic nurse a well-rounded character. Haunted by the death of her son, and having lost her medical license, the idea is that she’s metaphorically sold her soul to Jeff Goldblum’s diabolical crime lord, but once in the hotel, she’s the boss. Compassionate but tough as nails, Foster carries the movie and gives it a weightiness it wouldn’t have had otherwise, even if it occasionally dips into cliché.

Lest Pearce’s movie get too serious, it’s balanced out by a knowing performance by Dave Bautista, who once again impresses in a part that could have been two-dimensional. Playing her hulking orderly, who’s as meek as a kitten unless you cross him or break the rules (in which case he turns into an unstoppable killing machine), Bautista brings heart and a good deal of humor to the part. I must also admit, it’s always fun to see Bautista kick ass, as a hulking guy like him shouldn’t be able to move the way that he does, and while the action is mostly limited to the climax, he gets some good beats in.

Outside of Foster, the lead is probably Sterling K. Brown as the closest thing the hospital has to an everyman. A thief trying to go straight, he’s pulled into a violent heist by his heroin-addict brother (“Atlanta”’ Brian Tyree Henry) that ends with his sibling waiting for a 3D printed liver (in the future – organ transplants aren’t that big a deal). Brown is the most “normal” guy, and in some ways the noirish hero, while Sofia Boutella is the femme fatale, an assassin who has a history with most of the people under the hotel roof. Charlie Day, as an arms dealer, is around for some comic relief, although the guy who’s really funny is Zachary Quinto as Goldblum’s meathead son, in an against-type part (why hasn’t he been groomed more as a leading man? He has the chops).

It’s all tied together by a juicy Cliff Martinez score (the most consistent composer in the biz) and sharp visuals from big-time South Korean DP Chung Chung-hoon (Park Chan-Wook’s go-to). Again, this ninety-minute potboiler isn’t going to change the world, but as a B-grade pulp thriller, it pushes all the right buttons and could become a nice little cult item further down the road.

Source: JoBlo.com



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