‘Hotel Artemis’ Review: ‘John Wick’ Meets ‘ER’
When I first saw a trailer for Hotel Artemis I instantly thought of the John Wick franchise thanks to the hotel being a club-like hospital for criminals, just like the Continent serves as a one stop shop for hitmen in Reeves’ action franchise. After seeing the Jodie Foster starring flick, I can say that it definitely has a John Wick feel minus all of the over-the-top action, albeit with a splash of a hospital drama like ER. Quite frankly, that formula worked quite well for me, so Hotel Artemis is definitely a fun film with a dark tone to it and plenty of solid acting.
The plot is fairly straightforward. The year is 2028, and there are riots taking place in L.A. due to water being turned off for lower class citizens. The Hotel Artemis is situated in the heart of the city, and serves as an exclusive club for criminals needing to get patched up after a job gone wrong. Thanks to the near future setting the film also incorporates some cool technologies such as nano-tech for healing wounds, and the ability to digitally print body parts, so it has a bit of a sci-fi feel to it.
The hospital is ran by Nurse, who is masterfully played by Jodie Foster, as well as her orderly Everest, who is brought to life by my new favorite supporting actor, Dave Bautista. On one night a client comes in to be patched up, and it leads to a series of interconnected events that play out overtime to reveal the full scope of the film’s plot. I appreciated this the most about Hotel Artemis, because you never really know what all of its little scenes are building up to, but you know that you’re not just watching a movie about a futuristic hospital for criminals. It has a spy/heist thing going on in terms of the tension you feel while trying to figure out how all of the characters and their motivations will fit together, so the narrative is engaging.
There is a bit of violent action too, but unlike John Wick, action is not the focus with this criminal-club movie. Rather its focus is on the characters and how they all interact with each other and the hospital itself. It too is a character that has defined those who inhabit it, which in turn allows for their stories to be told in interesting fashions. Again, this flick shines thanks to its cast, and Jodie Foster’s Nurse is now one of my favorite roles of her’s. She physically gets into this role by giving Nurse little quirks like a funny walk and facial contortions that really make the character feel real. She also plays off of Dave Bautista’s Everest, who is her and the hospital’s protector, but not in a pure meathead kind of way. I just love this dude and feel like he brings an authenticity and understanding of who his character is to every role, and his turn in this movie is no different. Everest and Nurse definitely highlight the cast thanks to their dynamic, which borders on a Mother/Son thing with a splash of a Boss/Underling thing. I should also mention Sterling Brown, who also provides a memorable performance as his character helps drive the main plot with Foster’s and Bautista’s.
Hotel Artemis may not have the flashy action of John Wick, or doggie murder, but thanks to its secret criminal-hospital-club, it feels like it’s in a similar universe. With that being said, it doesn’t need Wick-level action to be entertaining thanks to its interesting plot and concept, but more importantly, its characters. Foster is fantastic, and Bautista continues to show why he’s more than just the Rock part 2. Really the entire cast is perfect, which makes this efficiently paced movie very enjoyable to watch. Let’s just say I’d be open to a sequel.
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