'Hotel Artemis' Review: A film that is aimless and underwhelming just as it is original and seemingly full of promise

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Tanmay Shukla

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Hotel Artemis Review, Still, girl in red dress, Sofia Boutella in Hotel Artemis

Hotel Artemis was well on its way in the first half to become a neo-noir classic but the director and writer Drew Pearce was not successful in his attempt to get the best out of a premise that is original and promising. It is the negligence in the end to rescue it from slipping into the pitfalls of predictability which made it underwhelming.

Jean Thomas runs a hospital for criminals in the run-down building of Hotel Artemis, a haven for felonious for the last 22 years. She lets them in only if they have a membership. Jean is consumed by the grief of losing her teenage son Beau to a drug overdose and seeks refuge in treating criminals in between bouts of alcohol. She has grown accustomed to being underground and hasn’t stepped outside her hotel for a very long time.

A one night story, Hotel Artemis begins with brothers Waikiki and Honolulu robbing a bank.Honolulu steals an ornate looking pen from a banker unaware of its value. While fleeing with their bounty the robbers run into cops and Honolulu gets wounded. Waikiki arrives with his brother to Hotel Artemis just in time.

There are other guests in the hotel too. Nice is a deceptive beauty who is not just bold and badass, but also a professional assassin. Acapulco, a misogynist realizes this a little too late for his own good. Jean Thomas who always insists on following the rules breaks them herself when she lets in Morgan, a cop who was asking for help. The final guest is Niagara, the Wolf King who is also owns the place. He is in need of prompt medical attention. He is accompanied by his son Crosby who has always let his father down. We learn that the pen Honolulu stole actually belongs to the Wolf King which contain something precious.
'Hotel Artemis' Review, Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum in Hotel Artemis
Drew Pearce meticulously builds the futuristic world of Hotel Artemis which is set in Los Angeles of 2028. He accomplishes the feeling of discord and lawlessness lurking in the air from his edgy characters, cinematography of Chung Chung-hoon (It, Oldboy) and the music by Cliff Martinez whose work in Nicolas Refn’s Drive was memorable to say the least, here he comes up with another masterful soundtrack which features songs like California Dreaming, City Of The Angels etc to amplify the mood created by the visuals while swiftly raising the tempo.

Jodie Foster makes a comeback to the big screen after a hiatus of almost five years. It’s almost a given that an actor of her stature is going to nail every character she assumes. Here she plays Jean Thomas without breaking a sweat.
Sterling K. Brown and Sofia Boutella in Hotel Artemis
Sterling K. Brown and Sofia Boutella in Hotel Artemis
Sofia Boutella injects glamour into the film as well as her character of Nice. She looks stunning taking on Wolf King’s henchmen in her blood red attire. Sterling K. Brown plays Waikiki with a sensitive touch, while both Zachary Quinto and Jeff Goldblum (who play Crosby and Wolf King respectively) give a sinister shade to their characters. Dave Bautista plays Everest, Jean’s loyal assistant who takes care of everything.

When it comes to style element, Drew Pearce has made a conscious effort to give his film a distinct visual look. The art director Jonathan Carlos and Sam Avila has enriched the film with grimy, elaborate details in mise-en-scene. The production design thus aptly completes as well complement the mood and style.

There is no particular broad idea in focus, it’s neither meant to be an action frenzy like Atomic Blonde or John Wick and it also dawdles in the middle. Hotel Artemis just about manages to engage and overall remains a middling movie with bits of everything but enough of nothing.

Rating: 6/10

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Hotel Artemis - Original Trailer (YouTube)

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

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