Don Reviews "Hotel Artemis"
I have always found it interesting that in the criminal world, there are codes that the underworld goes by. Whether it is doctors that will work on the bad guys off the books or those in the financial sector that keep their money safe from prying eyes, there can be severe “penalties” for those that cross the line. In “Hotel Artemis,” this is looked at in a very interesting way.
Drew Pearce is the writer/director here, and he tells his story with Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, and others. Foster plays “Nurse,” who runs a hospital for criminals on the penthouse suite of the abandoned Hotel Artemis in 2028 Los Angeles. There is limited technology, but each criminal pays for a “membership,” and their anonymity is protected by the names of the suites they stay in. She has an aide in a man referred to as “Everest” (Bautista), and on a night where rioting happens in the streets over a large corporation cutting off the water supply to the poor in the city, Nurse is also dealing with two brothers (Brown and Brian Tyree Henry) who are hurt after a robbery goes bad, an assassin who is not all she seems (Boutella), and an arms dealer (Charlie Day). On top of all of this, a huge crime boss who also happens to fund the hotel is on his way in as well.
The camera work is very good here, moving around the hospital from multiple angles. Almost all of the film takes place in the Artemis, so the mood is established and kept nicely in a way that reminded me of the “Saw” movies. All of the cast members do a great job working with one another, but I was very impressed with Day, taking the whining idiot type of character he is known for and adds a layer of criminality to it. Foster, in her first film in five years, also does great work as a more straight-laced person who does not like the rules of her business broken, and Bautista does very good work with her as the guy who will make sure the rules are followed, no matter the cost.
And the story here is just plain great. Having similarities to the Hotel Continental in the “John Wick” films but still being its own thing, the ninety minute run time is the right length. I liked how the story took its time for every character to tell their backgrounds and motives with some cool twists without being complicated. There is also some great action and some graphic violence, but it adds to the story and earns its “R” rating. This may not be for everyone, but if you are a person who enjoys a good action film, I will definitely recommend it as the coveted full price in the theater.