Hotel Artemis is set during one chaotic night in the eponymous hotel, run by The Nurse (an incredible Jodie Foster) as an emergency hospital for criminals, and is apparently somehow not a John Wick spin-off.
This is the kind of mad, self-contained concept dreamed up in the minds of teenage boys, flush with codenamed assassins, futuristic technology and macho posturing. It’s the kind of idea created by someone who doesn’t really get how the real world works yet has no desire to learn. Honestly, it’s all the better for it.
Full commitment is required to make such a ridiculous idea work and the cast don’t disappoint, knowing when to play things sincerely and when to embrace their cheesier instincts.
A pair of climactic scenes show how well Pearce and his cast handle this balance. They swing from a quiet, genuinely emotional conversation between Foster and Morgan (Jenny Slate), a young cop caught up in that night’s riots, to Everest (Dave Bautista) compiling a real-time supercut of corny action trash talk.
Drew Pearce’s script is imaginative and witty, but falls down on some of the basics. Several characters are wasted in dead-end subplots and the main plot makes very little sense when you think back on it, centred around a McGuffin that no one seems to care about.
Hotel Artemis is a film of contrasts, and nowhere is this clearer than in the unlikely pairing of Foster and Bautista. This delightful odd couple are the heart of the film, bringing an unexpected sweetness and empathy compared to the clichéd mob instincts of the Wolf King (yes, Jeff Goldblum) and his adult son Crosby (Zachary Quinto).
You might check out soon after the credits roll, but take it at face value and Hotel Artemis is a charming, pulpy thriller with a heart of gold.
CAST: Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, Jenny Slate, Charlie Day
DIRECTOR: Drew Pearce
WRITER: Drew Pearce
SYNOPSIS: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, Hotel Artemis follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.