I must admit that Hotel Artemis, the sci-fi crime directorial debut of Drew Pearce, snuck largely under my radar and indeed it wasn’t until last week that I saw a trailer for it. I was intrigued to say the least, with such an eclectic cast being reason alone to watch it. I wasn’t overly interested, but once I saw the invitation to a Cineworld Unlimited screening in my inbox I thought I may as well see it. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would like to see more of that universe.
The film boasts a cast of several well established and capable actors, including Sterling K Brown, Jodie Foster, Charlie Day, Sofia Boutella and Jeff Goldblum to name a few. The premise sees Foster’s Nurse Thomas, a disgraced medical practitioner who runs a covert hospital/hotel for the criminal elite. Through a series of events, various criminals find themselves in the Hotel and naturally, conflict ensues. Most of the cast are used well, with Brown’s methodical heist maestro, Day’s tantrum throwing gunrunner and Foster’s troubled, sardonic nurse being particular highlights. One performance I did not find too engaging was Jeff Goldblum, who apparently does not even try and act anymore, and while this is amusing for some of his roles, some require at least a modicum of acting, something which he hasn’t done since Independence Day. This is a brisk film, clocking in at 94 minutes which I think works to its benefit as if it were paced slower it would make for a much more meandering, aimless ode to hyper violence.
However its brisk pace is also a disadvantage at times, due to the fact that the film just sort of ends. Towards the end of the film, Goldblum’s big bad character The Wolfking who has been teased throughout the film shows up. His execution leaves a lot to be desired as he shows up and Goldblum’s around for a bit before promptly dying. While he comes with a reveal about Thomas’s son, he falls extremely flat for the most part and leaves the film with a gaping villain problem which is strange seeing as the film is literally filled with a hotel of villains. Zachary Quinto plays The Wolfking’s son, and while his performance is fine his character is a squalling childish manbaby and is also a huge idiot.
One of the biggest weaknesses of this film is the central macguffin that motivates K Brown’s character. At the start of the film, a bank heist gone wrong leads to his being in possession of a pen containing several millions worth of diamonds which belong to the Wolfking. Another character informs him that the Wolfking Is going to hunt down and kill whoever has stolen these diamonds, and it looks to be that way when Goldblum shows up at the Hotel. For some reason though this is never touched upon again, and the Wolfking seems oblivious to the theft as he doesn’t even mention it once. This plot device comes into play once at the end in a throwaway line, when K Brown uses it to bribe Zachary Quinto’s character. He doesn’t actually take the diamonds however, and is killed seconds later meaning both the plot device and the attempted bribery amounted to nothing.
The concept of a criminal hotel is not original, and indeed it seems as if the director is a fan of John wick as at times this feels like a pale imitation of that film’s Continental Hotel. The film itself wasn’t the greatest, but wasn’t overly terrible either, instead falling somewhere in the middle. It was enjoyable enough, but in my opinion it isn’t one to rush out and see and for those that do see it I suggest you don’t think too hard about any of it.
Verdict: I would give the film a 6/10 for being a fun enough watch but I am excited more about the possibilities and concepts that could be explored in a possible sequel than the actual film