20th July 2018 (UK)
Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, 'Hotel Artemis' follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.
Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Jeff Goldblum
“They don’t make em like they used to” is a frequently heard phrase around the campfire of film lovers and one that does have some accuracy due to the ever changing nature of the entertainment industry and audience expectations. So indeed, they definitely don’t make them like they used to – until they do.
Enter Hotel Artemis, the debut feature from writer Drew Pearce and staring a long absent Jodie Foster as Jean Thomas, a nurse that runs a secret “members only” hospital for criminals in near future LA. After a group of desperate bank robbers (lead by Sterling K. brown, Black Panther) accidentally steal from The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), they are forced to take refuge inside Hotel Artemis after a member of their squad is mortally wounded. Unbeknown to them, The Wolf King is hot on their tail, along with a variety of cutthroat assassins and violent arms dealers all with various allegiances and secrets withhold. With the help of the nurse (Jodie Foster) and her assistant Everest (Dave Bautista, Avengers: Infinity War) they try to survive the night.
High concept, mid-budget films have all but disappeared in recent years due to their increased risk of financial failure and the rise of the ‘Cinematic Universe’. This makes the arrival of Hotel Artemis feel all the more fresh and enjoyable, perhaps more than it should. The over-saturated market of superheroes and revived franchises helps Artemis stand out as something original, even though it’s far from it. But what it is, is a fast paced, well acted, interesting little sleeper; the kind of movie you can imagine achieving a cult following in 20 years. Its fat-free 94 minute run time speeds along gloriously, quickly establishing a intriguing and beautifully designed location. It’s quirky and fun, but often features one-note supporting characters and deals with themes like mental health and depression with a degree of care and thought.
It can be argued that the film doesn’t succeed because it simply doesn’t have time to flesh out all of its ideas, concepts and characters. Hotel Artemis is a sloppy film, pulling in so many directions that maybe a longer duration would have helped. It does, however, hit that satisfying 90 minute sweet-spot so perfectly for its pacing that I’m happy to forgive most of its shortcomings. Special mention needs to be given to Jodie Foster also who, after a 5 year acting hiatus, carries the film with ease. Bringing wise-cracking professionalism and a nervous energy to the role of the nurse, she is immeasurably watchable.
The film making is competent but perhaps unfortunately lacking in some much needed style, and whilst the score fails to make an impression, there’s a sprinkling of well chosen classic songs from the West Coast that add to both character and mood. It all adds up to a good if uneven package, and that’s okay; because Hotel Artemis isn’t particularly concerned with being high art, instead deciding to consciously settle with being purely good old-fashioned entertainment.
Fast paced action packed into 90 minutes
A welcome return for Jodie Foster
Lacks distinctive style
Being slightly longer would have helped with character development