"a stylish thriller but unlike comparative movie, John Wick, the characters need to be fleshed out more"
Starring Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Charlie Day, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Dave Bautista and Zachary Quinto, Hotel Artemis takes place in the not too distant future, at a discreet hospital designed for top criminals, where their wounds can be cleaned up, with no fear of being bumped off by other patients. The opening scene to Hotel Artemis helps to bed it, whilst bringing about an element of reality.
Jean Thomas, a troubled nurse played by Jodie Foster uses music as a device to cope with the tragedy she’s had in her life. Associate, Everest (Dave Bautista) towers over her, and everybody else but don’t let that deceive you, as he will do anything to help the suffering, at the same time he will punish anybody who doesn’t abide by the hotel rules.
In the middle of a riot in L.A., a bank heist goes badly wrong, and the robbers take refuge in the Artemis. Each patient is granted the name of their suite, therefore, the bank robbers are called Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown), an accomplished professional who’s progression is restricted by his drug addict brother, Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry). Other patients include the enigmatic assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella), and arms dealer Acapulco (Charlie Day).
Although there’s a whole world for us to explore, we see it from the perspective of The Nurse, and what we catch through the keyhole. Outside the hotel it’s in a state of complete disorder. ‘California Dreamin’ by ‘The Mamas and The Papas‘ effectively summarises a lot of the themes in the movie, as well as captures the general vibe.
First time director and writer, Drew Pearce creates a stylish world where 1920s Hollywood meets the 2020s; Art deco murals versus brutal, futuristic medical contraptions.
Many old cinematic techniques are applied, while remaining within an Independent film budget. For example, tricking the audience in to thinking the space they are in is bigger, yet also causing them to feel claustrophobic.
It turns out that because there was no ceiling, most of the special effects budget was used on “black gaps,” where light was piercing through.
The director’s appreciation of the past ten years of Korean Cinema is identifiable in the aesthetics he uses. An important emphasis is placed on colour, most particularly gold, which in the first half of the movie represents safety, and in the second, rioting and destruction.
The fight scenes are an extension of an individual’s personality, as opposed to them being some “bad ass moves.” In fact, it made me draw parallels with Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
From a tonality point of view I can see how Pearce explores a similar vein to Bong Joon-ho who veers off in different directions, unafraid to flit between heavy drama, broad comedy, ultra violence and sincerity to incredible emotion, all of which are encompassed within the same scene, like a zig-zag.
Somehow each character is trapped within their own personal cage; Foster brings an intelligence to her portrayal of Nurse Jean Thomas, and adorns a great physicality to it. The steps she takes are short but quick in pace, which says a lot. It tells us she’s both driven but extremely wound up.
The fact Foster has been in the film business for a total of fifty two years is a great testament to her ability to define a character, in order to bring them to life.
The “timepiece” shot in downtown L.A. over the course of 33 days, delegates each character a function to follow, and they maneuver themselves most meticulously. At no point do they express a thought, which may bear relevance to the plot.
Pearce has assembled together a fantastic group of actors, all of which do their best at elevating the script; Sterling K. Brown provides a forceful, yet softhearted performance, considering he is meant to be one smooth heist chief, and Charlie Day and Sofia Boutella with less to do, still manage to captivate us.
A stylish thriller but unlike comparative movie, John Wick, the characters need to be fleshed out more, in which instance the intricacies of their lives, including tragedies could be fully established.