Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hotel Artemis

The directorial debut of screenwriter Drew Pearce (whose most notable screenwriting credit is Iron Man 3), is Hotel Artemis, which suffers from the beginning by trying to do too much at once. It is not difficult to see where the compulsion came from, however, considering that the cast includes figures such as Sterling K. Brown, Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum and Charlie Day, something else was expected.

Things start with "Waikiki" by Sterling K. Brown, who by failing in a robbery with his brother (Brian Tyree Henry) is hurt in the process. Both end at the Artemis Hotel, an exclusive member-only hospital run by Foster and his portly assistant, Everest (Dave Bautista), while out in Los Angeles descends into rampant chaos. From there, things start to get confused. We are quickly introduced to a cast of characters that populate Artemis, from "Nice" (Sofia Boutell) an assassin for hire, to "Acapulco" (Charlie Day) a weapons dealer, who seem to have their own agendas.

Foster's character is called "The Nurse", as his specific code name, is the leader here. Hotel Artemis never decides exactly where it wants to put the weight of the narrative. Brown and Foster share most of the focus in the first act, but as the plot begins to build and the threads begin to converge, it becomes increasingly unclear who is the protagonist and who is on whose behalf. It becomes even more confusing when a wounded police (Jenny Slate) emerges, who appears just before the arrival of a crime lord known as The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum) and his entourage, which makes this a variable Russian roulette of exposure and background structure.

While all these loose ends seem to have little connection, Pearce's script intelligently links them all and, equally importantly, a cast that performs without a weak performance.

Foster, of course, stands out as the neurotic nurse with a past. Dexterously, he goes from exploring the nervous side of his character to finding his sense of humor and, ultimately, his humanity. If vulnerability, sense of duty and threat can inhabit the same body, Brown dominates him as Sherman, courtesy of a script that allows him to explore his faults and remorses as if it were completely natural. While Foster and Brown are proven actors, it is Bautista who brings a lot of fun to his character. He is not only an ordinance but also an executor, his "Everest" gives a lot of value to the film.

The only problem with the cast is that Jeff Goldblum is not on the screen enough. In its limited time, it makes the audience feel like they are dating an old friend.

The cinematography of Chung-hoon Chung (Oldboy, The Handmaiden) shows a great eye for style, allowing its illumination, especially in the climactic scenes, which bathes in crimson, to establish the mood and tone.

For a film that clearly goes for the science-fiction action niche, it does not have many action sequences. The general lack of it, eventually, is based on some scenes of struggle with flavor to the classic cinema of martial arts enough satisfactory, that cheerfully they show so much the physicist of Boutella as the one of Baptist. Hotel Artemis is not particularly interested in surprising the spectators with acrobatics and visual effects, but in entertaining us with interesting dialogues and characters, but mainly with a decadent atmosphere that fascinates from its first shot.

Artemis Hotel is worth it in your short stay required.

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