GLOBAL ROAD ENTERTAINMENT (2018)
Director: Drew Pearce
Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista
“Things are going to Hell in a handbasket full of blood and shit!”
Drew Pearce, writer of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Iron Man 3, steps up to the director’s chair in his first feature-length, Hotel Artemis. For his crime thriller set in a grimy and grungy 2028, Pearce assembled a talented cast and also managed to rope in Jodie Foster after a long absence from the big screen to attempt to realize his vision. They must have seen something good in it?
Full of sadness and racked with agoraphobia, The Nurse (Foster) resides in the once-glamorous Hotel Artemis in Los Angeles treating patients in the thirteen-story hotel. The only patients she will treat are ‘members’, those who can pay big bucks for the treatment in a society where water is rationed and the poor are dying out. Her clientele usually consists of criminals and gangsters and, on this night, it’s no different. After a botched bank robbery, brothers Waikiki (Brown) and Honolulu (Henry) are the first through the doors, followed by assassin Nice (Boutella), arms dealer Acapulco (Day) – all are tasked with the simple request of not killing each other. However, things are thrown into chaos when word reaches The Nurse that The Wolf King (Goldblum) – the Kingpin of LA - would also be visiting, and it was his bank the brothers had earlier tried to rob.
Evoking the crumbling, bleak society movies from the 1950s (and 1940s, if you want to go back even further), Hotel Artemis seemed to have enough in the tank to deliver a very solid movie – a great cast, a good premise, and an interesting location to base everything around. What a damn shame that Pearce couldn’t combine every element to create the movie that should have been. Though the movie clocked in at around one-hour-forty-five-minutes, the final effort seems rushed as the attempts to cram each character in, giving them some depth and allowing for them all to integrate and interact take their toll on the narrative flow and it becomes messy and muddled.
Jodie Foster is the MVP here, her tragic backstory allowing for some pathos to bleed through and a quiet, yet outwardly confident performance. Goldblum remains the king of cool, whilst Charlie Day manages to not quite as annoying as usual and Boutella shows up to rough people up (…again) in a titillating costume – becoming typecast, methinks. Everyone is doing all he or she can with the material, but it’s just that that lets them down.
The hotel itself is an interesting character – you can tell there’s history in the walls and the grubbiness of it really set the tone and visual scene well. It’s the vanilla story that’s the issue. Whilst the movie is low on action, and it didn’t really need big set pieces, everything else just feels languid and you’re left wanting more from what was an interesting premise to start with.
For such a decent cast and premise, Hotel Artemis just lacked that spark to really make it soar. Ultimately, it’s a fairly lacking crime thriller that’s not as stylish as perhaps it thinks it is.
September 25th 2018