‘Hotel Artemis’: Stylish but tacky (IANS Review, Rating: **)

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Film: “Hotel Artemis”; Director: Drew Pearce; Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista; Rating: **

Debutant Director Drew Pearce’s “Hotel Artemis” is a one-crazy-night genre outing, set in a sci-fi action thriller.

The narrative directly plunges into a riot torn Los Angeles in 2028, after water becomes privatised in the city. Amid the chaos, criminals seek refuge at the titular, members only hotel, which acts as a combination hiding place and a “secret” hospital, run by a cynical “Nurse” (Jodie Foster).

The hotel has small dingy rooms with noir-ish quality, yet features high tech medical equipment. Apart from paying your dues and if there’s a bed available, “there are rules,” for admission to this hotel.

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Sounds fascinating and promising? But, unfortunately, the plot while trying to be subtly stylish and intelligent, turns out convoluted and jumbled.

Hoping to offer a vibrant sensory experience, the film has the sensibilities of a B-grade film of the eighties set against a more remote setting with futuristic technology. Thus making the narrative incoherent, flat and tedious to watch.

The script does have its moments, as the director concentrates more on the action sequences of the number of seedy, stock characters who cross paths on the crazy night than on the logic of the screenplay.

But what keeps you glued to your seats is the dark, atmospheric cinematography and quirky characters that fill the screen.

Looking haggard and way beyond her years, Jodie Foster as the fierce and matronly “Nurse”, totally in charge of the premises, leaves you spell bound. Her gait and demeanour are not only intriguing, but also awe-inspiring. At the hotel, she is appropriately supported by Everest, her beefed-up man-Friday played earnestly by Dave Bautista.

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Speaking of the supporting cast; Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry in their typical character type as bank robbers Sherman and Lev, Jeff Goldblum as the mobster boss Wolf King, Zachary Quinto as his feckless son, Charlie Day as the arms dealer Acapulco and Sofia Boutella as the mysterious and dangerous Nice, are all brilliant as each one of them bring their own charm to their respective roles. They do intrigue you initially but fail to leave an impact.

Overall, the film ends up like a fairly lifeless tacky piece of art.

–IANS

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