Hotel Artemis, written and directed by Drew Pearce, offers an interesting selection of characters in an explosive situation where we’re waiting for the inevitable boom to come. I didn’t have high expectations walking into this film, but I ended up finding it to be quite entertaining. The film is of course not without faults and it isn’t a film that’s going to have critics raving, but there’s something simple and fun about Hotel Artemis. So, let’s explore what some of those things are and if they’re good enough to warrant you going to see it.
Set in Los Angeles in 2028, Hotel Artemis is a secret medical facility for criminals. The rules are strict and its primary carer, ‘Nurse’ – played by Jodie Foster – sees that they are followed to the letter. However, during a violent riot, the Artemis fills up quickly with a dangerous assortment of nefarious individuals all with particular agendas, and so soon the once peaceful Artemis descends into chaos.
I went into Hotel Artemis not having the highest hopes. The trailers made it seem like a cheesy, eye rolling experience that wouldn’t make any impact. To put it bluntly: I wasn’t prepared to watch a good film (which I understand is very unfair, but for some reason it was the mindset I found myself in). Walking out after the film had finished, I found myself pleasantly surprised at how entertaining the film I had just sat through was. It wasn’t anything remarkable, but I enjoyed myself.
I think a primary factor in making that the case is that Hotel Artemis doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s fun to be had with a secret hospital full of criminals and Hotel Artemis makes a good effort of relishing in that fun.
It also helps that the film doesn’t sit around twiddling its thumbs. At 96-minutes, Hotel Artemis moves along at a decent pace; keeping you entertained with the assortment of characters on hand and their satisfyingly funny interactions. I never found my attention wavering, I never felt the film was getting bogged down and circling the idea of being boring. It has its simple plot, it has a group of likably-villainous individuals and it played around with it all in ways that I found to be enjoyable.
Writer-director Drew Pearce also put together a snappy little script that is full of quips and moments that had the audience around me laughing often. There’s a rhythm to Pearce’s dialogue that does a good job of making sure each character has their own distinctive voice in the film and he also does a good job of having those unique voices bounce off of one another; making for some delightfully fun interactions.
And those interactions are made better by a solid cast. The enrapturing Sterling K. Brown, the joyful Jeff Goldblum, the intimidating Sofia Boutella, the always wonderful Dave Bautista, and the effortlessly transformative Jodie Foster, make up a cast of characters/actors who I slowly found myself connecting with and liking – Jodie Foster of course being the standout. She’s an actress who is able to disappear and reappear as the embodiment of her character – with all the little nuances and touches that help to build up and flesh out her characters.
But the quality and the talent of the cast – Sterling K. Brown and Jodie Foster in particular – play a part in revealing one of the major flaws of this film. Hotel Artemis is a film that is severely lacking depth. While I didn’t mind the simple plot, as it helped to keep the film moving and never caused it to feel sluggish or boring, the same can’t be said for the characters. Every character is certainly fun to watch, and each have standout moments, but all of their development is surface level.
Now an argument could be made that diving deeper into the characters would hamper the pace and cause the film to be bloated, but for me, the film missed out on some great opportunities with some of its characters. There are certainly attempts to suggest there is more to each of the characters than what we’re seeing, but the film never adequately delivers it. Take Jodie Foster’s character for example: Her fear to go outside is poorly established and handled, and then when the triumphant moment comes where she leaves the Hotel, it doesn’t feel earned. The moment falls flat and there’s no meaningful weight to it.
This is an issue that’s the same for all of the characters. There triumphant moments feel undercut by the fact that they’re never given the proper time to expand and feel well-established. I think if the film had structured some things a little differently and put a better focus on building the fun but empty characters into more than what they were, then Hotel Artemis could have delivered on something quite memorable. People looking for something with depth or range will be left feeling unfulfilled by this film
But with that being said, I can still see audiences enjoying their time Hotel Artemis. By keeping it simple and not wasting its time or ours, the film is able to entertain throughout; with a laugh here-and-there and some okay action, this is a film that will leave most people decently satisfied.
I’m happy to recommend Hotel Artemis. The film won’t make a massive impact on you; it won’t leave you with much to think about. But it’s an effortlessly enjoyable little movie that doesn’t overstay its welcome and offers something to sit and have fun with. If you find the time and are looking for something to watch, then Hotel Artemis is certainly a film worth considering.
I’d love to know what you thought of both Hotel Artemis and my review of it, so please leave any opinions or feedback you have, in the comments section down below. If you liked what you read, may I ask that you consider following both my blog and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings. But I’ll bring things to a close now and let you move onto other things by offering you my gratitude. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and I hope you enjoyed it enough to consider returning. Thank you.