‘Hotel Artemis’ has good asthetic, but not worth the stay (review)

“You’re the employee, I’m the business.”

 2018 has been an exceptional year thus far. From the incredible heroic exploits of Avengers: Infinity War to the quiet intensity of A Quiet Place. Seriously, how great has this year been so far? I think one of the best things about 2018 is that the anticipation in upcoming films have been palpable. Just about every trailer I’ve seen has gotten me so excited to see it, Hotel Artemis being one of the top. Spouting a killer cast, the film promised to give us a film that was unique not only in the crime genre, but also the sci fi genre as well. How did it pan out? How does the film deliver on such a unique premise? Not very well, actually.

Hotel Artemis is helmed and written by first-time director Drew Pearce. As rioting rocks Los Angeles in the year 2028, disgruntled thieves make their way to Hotel Artemis — a 13-story, members-only hospital for criminals. It’s operated by the Nurse, a no-nonsense, high-tech healer who already has her hands full with a French assassin, an arms dealer and an injured cop. As the violence of the night continues, the Nurse must decide whether to break her own rules and confront what she’s worked so hard to avoid.

One of the first things to notice about this film is the star-studded cast it totes. Sterling K. Brown’s work on NBC’s This Is Us has gained the attention of the world, giving him the foundation to traverse into other mediums. Alongside Brown are the likes of impressive performers Sofia Boutella, Zachary Quinto, Dave Batista, Jenny Slate and Charlie Day. To top off the illustrious cake of a film, the film also boasts film veteran actors Jodie Foster and the enigmatic Jeff Goldblum. The stage was set, the pieces were in place, the only thing left was to execute a good film, and bingo: box office gold.

Unfortunately, the characters aren’t used to the best of their abilities. The film feels like it is always just short of giving the cast its own opportunities to really shine. Every scene that begins to gain some momentum seem to stop just shy of becoming great for the sake of creating a complex film in only 97 minutes. Brown, hands down, gave one of the strongest performances in the film, but that’s saying something seeing as there are many more experienced actors in the project, especially with the likes of Jodie Foster. Her performance begins rocky, in my opinion, and begins to come into her own, but sadly not until the latter half of the film. Not to mention that Goldblum appearances in the film are few, and act as more of a cameo than a role in the film, disappointing many fans of the Jurassic Park alum -including myself- who expected more.

One cannot miss the incredible noir set style this film has, as the hotel -itself- looks like something straight out of a Humphrey Bogart film. It being a sci fi crime thriller set in the future, this adds a nice nostalgic backdrop to the advanced technology that dons every room in the hotel, allowing fans to relish in the facade of history the location may hold. Counterbalanced with its techno-styled soundtrack, the overall aesthetic of the film completely feels like a sci fi film I should love. There’s sadly only one thing in the way: Director Drew Pearce.

Pearce, whose previous works include films such as 2013’s Iron Man 3 and 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, does carry a unique vision when it comes to screenwriting. Hotel Artemis highlights the care and effort that Pearce took into creating a story, devising the unique plots that execute incredibly…on paper. Unfortunately, the execution of filming it doesn’t land as close, and seems a bit like one long action thrill ride build up that goes no where.

The pacing of the film seems to always be set to rush, as it easily jumps from energetic fight scenes to moments of sincerity without any breathing room in-between. This filming style is a unique choice, but with constant interruptions of teary moments, the method of Pearce’s madness falls apart towards the end. What we all end with is a lackluster finale that hits so far from the bullseye, it’s in the next bar over. This is -again- more than likely due to its runtime of 97 minutes, cramming what could’ve been a complex but slightly longer film into a less complex but hour and a half film.

All in all, I was disappointed in this film knowing that it could’ve been so much better than what it is. Hotel Artemis, likening to sports, has some of the best players in the league, boasts a killer strategy, for an incredible team. The only problem: an inexperienced coach who has spent his career creating great strategies, but has never coached a team of his own. Although the Hotel Artemis has great aesthetic with its noir vibe and interesting clientele, I strongly recommend choosing another hotel to stay.

Rating: 2/5 Atoms

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