In Hotel Artemis a woman called The Nurse (Jodie Foster) runs a medical facility for criminals. Everyone who enters must abide by a strict set of rules and, most importantly, it’s members only. So don’t be trying to get in without your membership.
Hotel Artemis is the directorial debut of writer Drew Pearce and it’s a ferocious, fun and stylish one. Following in the vein of films like John Wick and Reservoir Dogs it’s impossible to praise this witty action-thriller without comparing it to a host of previously released features. The comparisons however, should not staple this as a lesser film, but instead reinforce the now-fact that Pearce knows what makes a great movie. By borrowing the sophisticated veil of John Wick, throwing it into a confined setting a la Reservoir Dogs and injecting a hearty dose of humour, violence and well-choreographed fighting, Pearce creates an effortlessly entertaining tale of injured criminals.
The near-future setting of Hotel Artemis opens up further similarities, becoming reminiscent of the exaggerated and hyper-real world of The Purge franchise, but also bearing a strong resemblance to the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Hear me out. The grimy shades of browns and greens, plus the off-kilter atmosphere of Hotel Artemis rings such familiar bells and is immediately reminiscent of the quirky vibes of Micmacs and Delicatessen. Sure, it’s no Shape of Water, but there is an unmissable European look to the style and production design of Pearce’s hotel.
The most of appealing part of Hotel Artemis is undeniably its excellent ensemble cast, where Charlie Day fits perfectly in his role of the sarcastic Acapulco, Sofia Boutella shines as the seductive Nice and Dave Bautista stays close to his Guardians role of Drax as the towering, intimidating Everest. Can you guess why he’s called that? Thanks to the film’s well-timed comedy and hilarious one-liners, the scenes cater to each of the characters, so that no one gets lost in this A-lister event. Jodie Foster is, of course, the star of the show as the leading lady the Nurse, with Sterling K. Brown edging into a close second as a man who finds himself in the biggest pickle of the film.
At a little over 90 minutes long, Hotel Artemis is the dream length. It never outstays its welcome and, if anything, I could have watched another 20 minutes. It’s a non-stop ride that’s full of surprises and gets even better when Jeff Goldblum sweeps in, triggering the plot’s most important and deadly chain of events. It’s short and ridiculously sweet, a brilliant beginning for a director I can’t wait to see more from.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Drew Pearce
STARS: Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Brian Tyree Henry, Kenneth Choi
RUNTIME: 94 minutes