Hotel Artemis is a stylish action crime thriller with great characters set in an intriguing neo-noir world. It’s the directorial debut for Drew Pearce, who also wrote and produced the film.
Artemis takes place in the near future in Los Angeles, where riots have broken out across the city. Two brothers (played by Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry) rob a bank as the film starts. Henry’s character gets shot and badly wounded, so Brown takes him to Hotel Artemis, a members-only emergency room for criminals that’s run in secret by the Nurse (Jodie Foster). Characters are only really referred to by their room name at the hotel, which doubles as their code name during their stay, so that real names aren’t revealed. The rooms are all named after locations. Brown is Waikiki and Henry is Honolulu. There are a couple other criminals currently at the Artemis, Nice (Sofia Boutella) and Acapulco (Charlie Day). It’s quite the wonderful clash of personalities.
It turns out that Honolulu stole a pen with diamonds in it that belonged to the Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum), the man who runs the criminal underworld of Los Angeles. If you steal from the Wolf King, it’s known that you will die by his hand as punishment. The funny thing is that the Wolf King is being brought to the Artemis as he’s badly injured. You may get an idea where the plot may be headed…
It’s a very fun ride, and all of the characters are different, interesting, and sometimes quite funny. The world created by Drew Pearce is cool and original, something we don’t see enough of these days in filmmaking.
The entire cast honestly does a great job. Jodie Foster completely transformed herself for this role. She looks so much older than she is, run down, and eccentric. She shuffles down the halls in an odd, memorable way. She really gives her all in this part, and she has stated she was in love with the role and that’s the reason she got in front of the camera again for the first time in five years. She shines in this film.
Where Jodie Foster is the star and does indeed shine, Sofia Boutella steals the show. Her character Nice is so intriguing, sassy, and badass. Her fight scene towards the end of the film is the best scene in the film, hands down. Dave Bautista is hilarious as the Nurse’s trusted right hand man, Everest. He has some great one liners as does Charlie Day. Sterling K. Brown does a good job as well. The cast is top notch.
The plot and characters could have perhaps been fleshed out a bit more, but it’s a solid debut from Pearce and the fact that it’s a truly original work allows me to personally look past some of its flaws. Go check out Hotel Artemis, support original concepts, and you’ll have a good, fun time at the movies.
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