Movie Review: “Hotel Artemis”
After a heist goes wrong and his sibling gets shot, there is only one person for a "retired" criminal (Sterling K. Brown) to call, The Nurse (Jodie Foster) at Hotel Artemis. Over the past couple of decades, The Nurse has run a secret hospital for criminals. This hospital is known as Hotel Artemis, and is fully equipped with the best, state-of-the-art, medical equipment of 2028. It does, however, have a strict set of rules that were designed to keep the staff and patients safe. The first and most important rule, only members are allowed in. After that, members are not allowed to hurt or kill other members within the hotel, members cannot insult the staff, members cannot talk about the hotel on the outside, and members must go by temporary aliases when checked-in. Should a member break any of these rules, their membership will be revoked and they will have to answer to the hotel's enforcer, Everest (Dave Bautista).
Now checked in to the hotel, and given an alias, "Waikiki" (Sterling K. Brown) quickly learns that his brother had stolen from a powerful crime-lord, who just so happens to own the hotel. To make things worse, this crime-lord is on his way to the hotel and has become known for killing those who steal from him. There is also suspicious activity occurring from one of the other current patients and there is a dangerous city riot approaching that could threaten the hotel’s security. With all of this happening, the hotel may not be as safe as advertised, but Waikiki must try to get him and his brother out discretely before the crime-lord arrives and discovers who stole from him.
The Pros & Cons
Jodie Foster (+5pts)
Crosby Franklin (-3pts)
Hotel Artemis (+7pts)
Waikiki & Nice (+6pts)
Focus & Plot (-8pts)
Pro: Jodie Foster (+5pts)
Jodie Foster does not pop up in much these days, but when she does, she knocks it out of the park. She seems to transform into this character. Sure, the makeup aged her up, but between her walk and the way she talked, she became this character in a fascinating way. This character had suffered a tragedy, after which she began working as The Nurse in Hotel Artemis. She has been doing this for over twenty years and has hardly stepped foot outside.
I liked this character and really enjoyed Jodie Foster’s performance. I could see her pain, but she remained strong-willed and got the job done. She is also a no-nonsense nurse who has clearly dealt with her fair share of annoying patients. Jodie Foster was able to show the character’s pain, her strength, and was able to do so in a captivating way. This was a great actress playing a unique character in a unique movie.
Con: Crosby Franklin (-3pts)
While some of this film’s characters were compelling, others were generic and one-dimensional. Crosby Franklin (Zachary Quinto) was one of the latter. He is the son of the crime-lord and is unnecessarily angry. He treats The Nurse with hostility for no real reason, which is made stranger when the crime-lord shows up and treats her with respect. He comes across as a egotistical, spoiled child of a crime-lord. Imagine that generic character in your head and you will be imagining Crosby Franklin.
The story does a poor job at explaining this character’s attitude and he ends up just being an angry, mean character for the sake of having an angry, mean character. Zachary Quinto did what the role required him to do, but there was simply no screen-time to flesh the character out. There a lot of big name actors playing a lot of different characters. Some of these characters got compelling character development, but for Crosby Franklin, the writers clearly got lazy and delivered a generic, one-note character.
Pro: Hotel Artemis (+7pts)
This movie definitely had a unique premise. It will remind audiences of the Continental Hotel from the John Wick movies, but it is very much a different thing. Unlike the Continental Hotel, Hotel Artemis is actually a fully equipped hospital for criminals and assassins. It has 3D printers for spare organs, laser cutting tools for surgical procedures, tons of drugs, and a nurse capable of using it all.
The medical side of the hotel was cool, but I also enjoyed the secretive aspect. The hospital has a pretty intense security system, only lets members check-in, and members have to go by code names when inside. There are a strict set of rules that include no member-on-member violence (which is where the comparison to the Continental Hotel is relevant) and a mountain of an enforcer (appropriately named Everest). It is a unique concept and the film certainly plays around with all these rules (which audiences will enjoy). Sure, it is a bit of a gimmick, but it is pretty entertaining.
Con: Acapulco (-3pts)
Another underdeveloped, one-note character was Acapulco (Charlie Day). When we meet this character, he is already a patient at Hotel Artemis. He has a pretty big ego with a sense of entitlement. He thinks Nice (Sofia Boutella) is beneath him, and he is clearly not above throwing around the fact that he is rich and powerful.
That is pretty much this character in a nutshell. He is constantly whining, making demands, and is physically not intimidating. The character is intended as the film’s comedic relief, and Charlie Day does his best, but the character ends up falling flat. He is underdeveloped and uninteresting so audiences will not care about him or find him very amusing.
Pro: Waikiki & Nice (+6pts)
Hotel Artemis definitely dropped the ball on a few of its characters, but I was surprised to see how well it handled Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and Nice (Sofia Boutella). Waikiki is at Hotel Artemis to take care of his brother. He could have had a very successful life as a well-paid criminal but has always been held back by trying to look after his brother. He also had a bit of a romantic relationship with Nice that was never fulfilled due to the same reason. I thought there was a lot of depth to Waikiki and Sterling K. Brown brought this to life masterfully.
The unsatisfied emotional tension between Waikiki and Nice was compelling, but Nice was dealing with an internal struggle of her own. She is dealing with being an extremely high-paid and successful assassin who wears an eye implant that records her kills for her clients to see. Nice has an internal conflict regarding this, which is compelling to watch, but her action sequences were very entertaining. Sofia Boutella is making a career out of being a female badass. As an audience member, you truely believe that this character is a well-trained, extremely dangerous assassin and the action fully supports this. In this movie, there is a scene in which she fights about ten thugs in hand-to-hand combat and it was an extremely satisfying action sequence.
Con: Focus & Plot (-8pts)
The filmmakers bit off a little more than they could chew with this movie. The Nurse, Waikiki, and Nice were well developed, complex characters, but the rest of the characters were underdeveloped and one-dimensional. Normally, three well-developed characters would be good, but with the cast as stacked as this, too many one-dimensional characters can make a film feel cluttered. The filmmakers just did not have the screen time to focus on all of the characters and plot points that they wanted to and the plot definitely suffered for it.
Why did the crimelord actually show up to Hotel Artemis? What was the plot significance of stealing the crimelord’s pen? How did Nice know her target would be at the hotel? These are all pretty significant plot related questions and the filmmakers never answer any of these questions. This leaves these some pretty major plot holes in the story.
Grade: C+ (79pts)
Hotel Artemis had a really cool premise that had some similarities to the Continental Hotel from the John Wick series. Hotel Artemis is a secret, members-only, hospital for criminals and assassins. There are a strict set of rules that patients must follow, which includes no member-on-member violence. Does any of that sound familiar? The exclusive membership aspect was similar to the hotel in John Wick, but this movie takes it a step further by making it an emergency room. This was a pretty unique premise and it was a lot of fun to explore this hotel for the film's duration.
Unfortunately, the film suffers from some focus issues. The cast was a little too cluttered for the filmmakers to handle, as got a handful of characters (with big name actors in the role) who ended up being very generic and one-dimensional. Most of the film's characters, and the plot, seemed to suffer from the filmmakers focusing more heavily on Waikiki, Nice and The Nurse. Sterling K. Brown gave a lot of depth to Waikiki, Sofia Boutella played the bad-ass assassin with a lot of internal conflict, and Jodie Foster was captivating to watch (as she dealt with her character's tremendous pain). These three characters were great, but the rest of the characters seemed to get little or no development. It was an entertaining and interesting movie, but suffered from a cluttered cast and had a plot that was riddled with major plot holes.
Which hotel would you like to spend a weekend in?
© 2018 Bryan Ouellette