Geek Review: Hotel Artemis

Hotel Artemis had an interesting premise as revealed by its trailers:  a hospital for criminals, hidden in an old hotel, with a strict set of rules.  The cast included Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, and Jeff Goldblum as a crime boss.  Obviously, the rules would be broken.

Well, it’s out now.  Let’s see what rules were broken…

In the year 2028, water has been privatized and because the corporation that owns the water is cutting off most of the city of Los Angeles, riots are hitting the streets.  One enterprising group of criminals hits a bank, but one hothead member of the gang gets shot.  The gangleader (Brown) calls this guy his brother and takes him to the title location for quality, secret medical care.  As run by the Nurse (Foster), the Hotel Artemis has many strict rules, and if anyone attempts to break them, well, that’s where the orderly called Everest (Bautista) comes in.  The Hotel can only hold four patients at a time, and the futuristic medical devices at the Nurse’s disposal are not exactly top of the line since the whole place is run on the sly.  Her current patients include a high-priced assassin (Boutella) and an arrogant arms dealer (Day).  Then word comes down that the Wolf King, a vicious gangster who runs all the city’s crime and owns the building, is coming in for treatment.  That would be Goldblum.

Writer/director Drew Pearce is making his directorial debut, and as it is, the movie has a lot of style but not much substance.  Most of the characters, known by aliases, have more in the way of quirks than character growth.  It’s the sort of movie that assumes making its characters eccentric counts as development.  For example, Foster’s Nurse shuffles around with an old lady’s walk, suffers from agoraphobia and a tragic backstory, and may be willing to break the rules under the right circumstances even though there can be no good consequences for such an action.  The movie reminded me a bit of John Wick, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Artemis and the Continental co-existing, but like the many knock-offs that appeared in the wake of Quentin Tarantino’s success, it feels like an attempt to copy something without the original’s wit and pizzazz.  I’m giving it a barely passing 7 out of 10 health care professional speeches.

Oh, the closing credits end with a few lines thanking the viewer for coming to the hotel and hoping to see them again soon.  Is this an attempt to start a weird cinematic universe on Pearce’s part?


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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