Hotel Artemis (NC16)
Starring Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella
Directed by Drew Pearce
Los Angeles, 2028. A bank robber (Sterling K Brown) and his wounded brother (Brian Tyree Henry) check into Hotel Artemis, a criminals-only, high-tech but dingy hospital on the penthouse level of a decrepit downtown building. At this sanctuary, the guests have to abide by one house rule: Don’t kill anyone. (Guess they’re only allowed to croak from their injuries… or medical negligence.)
The incomparable Jodie Foster plays the agoraphobic manager known as Nurse, while Dave Bautista is her aptly-christened second-in-command, Everest. Sofia Boutella and Charlie Day are the other shady visitors, Nice the assassin and Acapulco the arms dealer. (The guests don’t use their real names; they go by their room names.) Naturally, someone breaks the rule of engagement, setting off a cataclysmic chain of events.
Hotel Artemis, by first-time director Drew Pearce — who cut his teeth as the writer of Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation — isn’t the flat-out John Wick-y type of gun-blazing bedlam the trailer sets it out to be. It has a lot of nervous energy, especially when Jeff Goldblum appears late in the game as a sandals-wearing mob boss, but it doesn’t work it off until the very end.
The movie also comes across as incomplete: sometimes I feel like I’m either watching a pilot for a Netflix series or its season finale. Whatever it is, there’s a bigger serialised narrative waiting to be told and if Pearce ever turns this into one, I want to know more about Nurse’s relationship with Everest, easily the most poignant part of the movie. (***)
Photo: Golden Village