Friday, June 22, 2018

Movie review of “Hotel Artemis” by Emily Maier

Run time: 97 mins 

Set in the year 2028, “Hotel Artemis” tells the story of an underground hospital in the service of criminals. The film opens with a botched robbery in Los Angeles in which two brothers are injured during their shootout with the police. They manage to take shelter in the “Hotel Artemis”, but their struggles are far from over.

Within the walls of the Artemis, tension bubbles between the wounded criminals. Outside, riots wreak havoc all around the city, as clean water has become a luxury that the poor of Los Angeles cannot afford.

The best thing about “Hotel Artemis” is the cast. With big names like Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Charlie Day, Zachary Quinto and – last but not least – Jeff Goldblum, the star power did not disappoint.

Jodie Foster’s character, referred to as The Nurse, and she runs the Artemis with efficient professionalism; compared to the chaotic criminal underworld and the riots raging around her.
The Nurse is an ironically understated presence in the film. I was particularly fond of The Nurse’s friendly banter with her faithful orderly, Everest (Dave Bautista). All in all, each member of the cast was wonderfully colorful in their roles, but Sofia Boutella in particular, stole every scene she was in. 

Her fight sequence toward the end of the film was beautifully choreographed and fast-paced.
The violence and language throughout “Hotel Artemis” are what give the film its R rating. While most of the action is not too graphic, there are a couple scenes that might affect even a seasoned fan of gore. All in all, the R rating felt necessary to achieve the brutal, gritty aesthetic that the movie was going for.

However, the film struggles and loses some credibility in regard to the plot. Beneath all the blood and neon lights, “Hotel Artemis” tries to construct a narrative about familial duties and the difficulties that these obligations can put people through. While it’s an interesting theme, the film ultimately feels like it bit off more than it can chew. Instead of having a central plot, “Hotel Artemis” seems broken up into a variety of sub-plots.

These sub-plots include a mother trying to come to terms with her son’s death, a man caught in the web of his brother’s self-destructive behavior, and a son trying to prove himself to an indifferent father. The plot is additionally fragmented by other sub-plots about stolen jewels, a paid assassin with a secret target, and an injured cop seeking help.

If you find yourself thinking this seems like too much to fit into one movie, you’d be right. While most of these sub-plots are compelling, there was no time to develop any of them because they were all vying with each other for screen time. This not only impacts the plot but the pacing of the movie as well. Every time a new storyline was added into the mix, the audience was forced to change gears as the previous sub-plot was thrown on the backburner.

While I was hoping for something a little more in the “John Wick” vein – a rapid-fire action flick with a similar premise – “Hotel Artemis” had enough going for it that I felt content upon leaving the theater.

Though the film definitely should have cut down on the sub-plots, it was still an entertaining story with an interesting premise. Overall, “Hotel Artemis” was most enjoyable when it was staying true to what it was – a fun action movie.

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