Welcome back Jodie Foster. We missed you.
Synopsis: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, HOTEL ARTEMIS is an original, high-octane action-thriller starring Jodie Foster as The Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals. (Global Road Entertainment)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, and Dave Bautista
Writer: Drew Pearce
Director: Drew Pearce
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 93mins
So the trailer pretty much gives everything away, however, most could probably still figure the plot out anyway. It was nowhere near the most original film, being a standard fare sci-fi B-movie. Fans of the genre should find plenty to enjoy here but the biggest draw will be its impressive cast. While they could have made up for the film’s lack of a story, all the characters they played had story threads that never materialized into anything which made them mostly forgettable. However, the only characters who remotely made an impression was a nurse known as The Nurse (Foster) and her orderly Everest (Bautista).
The story took place in a futuristic Los Angeles where riots were rampant. While it was probably trying to make a point with this, none of this was important whatsoever to the story. The story was about the Nurse and Everest treating their patients on what was another Wednesday for them in their secret hospital for criminals. As mentioned, all these criminals had their own stories of how they got to the hospital but they didn’t matter to the story. It was simply difficult to care about any of the other characters, including a pair of thieves (Brown and Brian Tyree Henry), an assassin (Sofia Boutella), an arms dealer (Charlie Day), and a crime lord (Jeff Goldblum), because the film failed to give us a reason to care about them.
Now it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone that when several volatile personalities are placed within an enclosed area as it was only going to be a matter of time until the powder keg finally exploded. Despite the film’s severe lack of personality amongst the criminal characters, the implosion of the hospital was still somewhat entertaining to watch. There were some action elements, however, they felt slightly out of place. Watching the nurse trying to manage the hospital and all the different criminals was the best part of the film. She got the most character development, having an arc of her own, but it was a shame that the film couldn’t go further with her as a film focusing on her would have been a far better one.
The film’s premise was an interesting one, taking a page from the John Wick universe but the story plays it too safe and never took any risks. It still managed to create an above average world with its low budget although just like the inconsistent character development, the writing was equally inconsistent which both worked against the film. Beit the writing or the direction, which were both from the same person, none of the characters, barring the nurse and Everest, were believable in their respective roles with some of the dialog making them more lame than menacing. However, none of them were given much of a chance. Though film tries to do too much within its relatively short running time, clocking in at just over 90 minutes, at least it’s done before you know it.
The film would not have been watchable if it wasn’t for Foster’s incredible performance as the Nurse. She was captivating to watch as the glue that held everything together. With some excellent ageing makeup (not that she needed it), she seemed to have a blast here while becoming the nurse, mannerisms and all. She stole most of the scenes although it was rather easy to do considering what everyone else had to work with. Bautista was the only who came close to matching Foster, delivering another fun performance as the tough Everest. The rest of the performances were okay but never could overcome the inconsistent writing.
Overall, this was a somewhat entertaining sci-fi romp with an interesting premise but with a predictable story full of forgettable characters that is elevated by an incredible performance from Jodie Foster.