Review: Hotel Artemis

Visiting hours may be never, but you really should try and check yourself into a showing of Hotel Artemis.

Two banker robbers, a deadly assassin and an arms dealer walk into a seedy hotel run by a nameless nurse. It may sound like the start to a bad B-Movie, but Hotel Artemis is a lot more than cliches and violence. For starters, it has a strong ensemble and manages to fully utilise each and every actor to their strengths. Jodie Foster (in her first staring role since Elysium in 2013!) shows that even without a hard hitting dramatic script, she is still an absolutely phenomenal actor. She brings laughs naturally but also adds an surprisingly large emotional weight to the film. Looking back, you can easily poke holes at her sub plot, but Foster manages to relay pure emotion and completely sells the idea of her characters anxieties and grief. The other standout in a star studded cast is Dave Bautista, who plays Everest, Artemis’ muscle and self proclaimed “Health Care Professional”. As he’s proved in Guardians of the Galaxy, his biggest assets within his acting arsenal isn’t his muscles, it’s his comedy chops. Whether it’s one liners I want on a T-shirt or his no-nonsense attitude towards some of the biggest criminals around, his presence is felt every time he enters the screen and is sorely missed when he’s not there.

(The film) manages to fully utilise each and every actor to their strengths.

Hotel Artemis is the directorial debut of Drew Pearce, who’s screenwriting credits include Iron Man 3 and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. It’s a very impressive and confident turn for his first time behind the camera on a feature film. There’s some surprisingly striking imagery throughout(cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung deserves a shout out too) that I wasn’t expecting, but where Pearce really shows off his talents is during the big action set pieces. There are two that stand out in particular, but one which showcases Nice’s (Sofia Boutella) abilities is especially remarkable. Filmed in a tight space but not managing to miss any details, it wouldn’t have felt out of place within a big budget summer blockbuster.

It’s a very impressive and confident turn for his (Drew Pearce) first time behind the camera on a feature film.

While the action is undeniably brilliant, it also feels earned, something many films today miss out on. The first hour of the film is basically a build up until the chaos unfolds. This is where having such a strong ensemble pays off. We quickly learn which characters we like and dislike, as well as slowly discovering the real reason some of them are at Hotel Artemis on this fateful night. The film is also set within a dystopian future which means that technology has advanced significantly. Instead of just saying it is set in the future for narrative purpose, Hotel Artemis take advantage of it by creating technology that is not only believable, but also adds to the world building. It even pokes fun at one particular use of technology, stating how it was totally unnecessary and only created for the sake of it, a fact that’s relevant today.

It all fits together like a jigsaw to stop it from becoming just another generic action film.

Hotel Artemis is a really entertaining and riveting watch. It could’ve easily become a forgettable summer release but doesn’t thanks to the ensemble uplifting the sometimes generic script. Alongside this is a great choice of music throughout, some very strong action set pieces and genuinely funny moments. It all fits together like a jigsaw to stop it from becoming just another generic action film. It even manages to avoid any sequel bait and instead carefully plants moments that could set up another film if one does move ahead, whilst never being tied down by them. Visiting hours may be never, but you really should try and check yourself into a showing of Hotel Artemis.

8/10

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