Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Hotel Artemis

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
'Relax' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!

Hotel California - The Eagles. They knew what time it is.

Los Angeles. 2028. Water has been privatised and the company in charge of it has turned off the taps. Riots ensue on a city wide scale. In the midst of all the carnage is the Hotel Artemis which is ran by Jean Thomas and her porter Everest. The Hotel Artemis is a different kind of hotel though. It's a safe house for criminals and it's a members only establishment. On this night of chaos the hotel reaches full occupancy and it isn't long before trouble kicks off inside as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's quite silly, some scenes go nowhere and a it's good example of style over substance but it just hits the spot. It's lean, it's economic, it's amusing, it has a fine cast all having fun, it sets out it's stall within 90 seconds and it features a very annoying character getting his head smushed in a 3D printer. 3D printers have so far been under utilised in scenes of movie violence but I sense they might have a future. It's not the action packed film trailers have sold it as but when it all finally kicks off it's crunchy and very satisfying and it captures the chaos and growing tension of a city under siege effectively.  Los Angeles 2028 is a dark place and the film isn't shy on placing the blame.

"We'll fly south below the wall." A pointed reference right there. If that stupid tangerine tinted tool in the White House gets a second term he'll be there until 2025. This film shows a very possible result of that worse case scenario. Criminality gone through the roof. The 1% with more than ever and the 99% sick of it all and rampaging and privatision of arguably the most vital resource on Earth. The core of the film might seem far fetched but the events surrounding it all are scarily close to coming true. 

It's a modern story with a 90's feel. The location and it's occupants brings to mind the Continental Hotel from the John Wick franchise but the cast and dialogue all have an early Tarantino feel to them. A diverse group of criminals firing zippy one liners around will always feel like him tbh. The cast is what elevates it from it's B movie origins too. It's always good to see Jodie Foster onscreen and here her fragile and damaged Jean gives the film something resembling a heart as her backstory is teased out via snippets of flashbacks. Dave Bautista is great value as a "Health care professional"/bouncer who gets the funniest lines in the film. He's carving himself a nice niche in the hulking yet comic sidekick market. Sterling K. Brown as one of the hotel's guests plays a smaller part than you'd initially think but has a good time with his part of a career criminal who wants out. There's too many characters for the short running time though (90 mins) and not everyone gets a good showing. Sofia Boutella has fun as a master assassin but her story just kind of......ends. Charlie Day once again proves he's shit in everything except It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Brian Tyree Henry (so good in TV's Atlanta) is utterly wasted. One other actor makes an appearance late in the film but I'll keep his name a secret. You'll smile when you see him though.

It's a fun watch. You'll enjoy yourself during this one. Yeah the short running time and certain story lines feeling rushed or cut short give the impression that there's a longer version out there but I enjoyed it's pared down feel. There's too much bloat in films these days and too many films run long because they have to spoon feed every plot point to audiences. Here you use your imagination to fill in the blanks and apart from one character I mentioned earlier getting shortchanged I like that feeling.

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