Do you remember the Continental Hotel from John Wick? It was a neutral haven for criminals. Hotel Artemis is a movie about such a hotel. There is no further connection between the two movies, except maybe for the profound violence and noir atmosphere.
It’s 2028. Nurse Thomas runs the Hotel Artemis. It’s is a hospital / neutral space for criminals, where they can stay anonymously and get patched up by her and her assistant Everest. The hotel has strict rules. No weapons, no killing other guests, and no non-members.
Water riots sweep Los Angeles, and a criminal named Sherman and his brother use the chaos to rob a bank. Unfortunately, their hired help isn’t very good. The police kill the help and severely wound Sherman’s brother. Luckily, the brothers happen to be members of the hotel Artemis.
Once inside, Sherman runs into an old acquaintance of his: Nice — like the city in France — a high-profile hired killer. If she’s in town, something big is going down. Then a wounded cop rings the doorbell and asks for Nurse Thomas by name. To make things worse, a phone call comes in that the owner of the hotel, the Wolf King, is inbound.
Slowly, events at the hotel start to spin out of control, pushing Nurse Thomas to her limits and beyond.
Nurse Thomas — played by oscar winner Jodie Foster a.k.a. Clarice from Silence of the Lambs — has worked at the hotel Artemis for many years. We quickly learn that she has agoraphobia and that there are dark secrets in her past. Foster manages to make the character come to life and instill you with a sense of compassion for a woman whose job is essentially to patch up wounded criminals so they can cause more mayhem.
Sherman — played by Sterling K. Brown — is struggling with his life as a criminal. He tried to get out of crime, but his brother’s failures dragged him back in. His character comes across as calm and composed, with a kind heart, although he’s really a bank robber.
Sofia Boutella plays Nice, a high profile hired killer. She’s lethal and sensual, and quickly turns out to have ulterior motives for staying at the hotel.
For me, Jeff Goldblum will always be Seth Brundle from the Fly, but of course he’s also starred in Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Thor: Ragnarok, and a lot more. He plays the Wolf King. He only appears halfway through the film, and comes as a surprise after the movie has built the Wolf King up to be a hardened crime boss. In some ways his character works, in others he’s just not the hardened criminal type.
Then there’s Zachary Quinto as the Wolf King’s son, Dave Bautista as Nurse Thomas’s assistant Everest, and Charlie Day as a weapon’s dealer also staying at the hotel. They all add flavor to the movie.
The premise of this movie is good, the actors are great, and the plot is okay. The setup could make for a good movie, but it doesn’t quite get there. The movie shines in some of the character-based scenes, but not as a whole.
Jodie Foster does a hell of a job, and I loved the interactions between Nurse Thomas and Everest, and how her character slowly gets pushed into a corner. Sherman is an okay character, but he’s no John Wick. His arc feels weak.
The fighting scenes are okay, but they don’t stand out, and the climax of the film kind of fizzles. A shame, because the build-up was good.
All in all, I liked hotel Artemis. It wasn’t a great movie, but it was engaging enough. If you like a noir movie about a slightly dystopian near-future with a tight focus and a lot of violence, you might like this movie as well. Just don’t expect the best thing since sliced bread.