Written by: Drew Pearce
Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate
Rules in an establishment provide a sense of order people can fall back on even when things begin to go off the rails. We have this in our everyday society as well as places of accommodation as seen in Hotel Artemis where the rules mean everything. While feeling slightly unoriginal due to its premise, the ways in which it varies creates for an intriguing world to follow with some mysterious characters entering the fray.
With massive riots occurring right outside in Los Angeles, Hotel Artemis run by Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster) tends to its members as a working hospital but it has specific rules that must be followed at all times. One of them includes not killing other members, which needs to be reinforced considering the clientele occupying the space. With a slew of people making their way over, everyone’s in store for a busy night at the hotel.
If watching this film begins to ring some bells of familiarity, you would not be wrong seeing as the premise of this feature and the hotel’s structure runs very closely to the Continental Hotel in the John Wick films. Yes, it does draw some parallels to the point where this feature could be an offshoot to the Keanu Reeves-starring movies but what Hotel Artemis sets out to do does enough to create some separation to become its very own things and what gets unearthed is an entertaining and twisty story of different characters with various motivations staying in one place. Fireworks will go off and we’re along for the ride.
The one aspect in introducing so many characters comes as one of the film’s biggest flaws because it never has enough time to flesh them out beyond them simply being assassins and killing people. With that much skill in the art of killing, holding onto that rule of not disposing of other members begins to bend to the point of breaking. However, the lack of depth these characters receive makes them feel like pawns on a chessboard, which hinders the ability of the audience to get fully attached to anyone here. The characters’ entire life story does not need to get displayed but just a little would certainly go a long way.
Another way to look at this critique comes from the film purposefully keeping these individuals vague because plenty of killing will go on anyway with the imminent threat heading their way. The film sets up the characters and their skills because we still see them utilized later on in the feature and in those moments, the film really soars. This mostly occurs with Nice portrayed by Sofia Boutella. An enigma throughout the story in trying to decipher her purpose for staying at the hotel for the night, when she turns on the jets she utilizes her effortless charm and incredibly athletic ability to demonstrate what this character can do with any type of disposable weapon. Her big scene within a hallway becomes worth the wait in seeing how much butt she can kick. The mystery of her character does the film well even if it could have been beneficial to learn a bit more about her.
With this film taking place in a dystopian future, the production design of this film looks absolutely marvelous. Containing aspects of future technology while also feeling like a rundown hotel makes this place quite the setting for everything to go down. Long hallways, dimly lit rooms, and an overly grungy feel demonstrate why this particular clientele loves to spend their time here, especially with the benefits it provides them. A perfect fit on a technical level with the whacky nature of the characters inhabiting it.
With a whole host of different conflicts occurring at the hotel on this very eventful evening, decisions about alliances need to be made very quickly. Knowing who has the purest intentions in a hotel full of criminals and killers makes the trusting process a bit more difficult. This ultimately demonstrates what makes Hotel Artemis an enjoyable film to watch. It takes a fascinating concept in its hotel to invite some seedy characters to flesh out what they want and how it relates to the other members present for the evening. The final result brings a host of fun featuring some delightful performances from the cast, who each bring a level of flair.