Sometimes you go see a movie that is entertaining, but the entire time you’re watching it you just know that you’ll forget about it in a few days. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but that movie usually falls into the “I’d watch it if it was on Netflix” category. Hotel Artemis is 100% that movie. There are several aspects of it that are enjoyable and fun, but in the end the movie is just kind of…. there.
Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, ‘Hotel Artemis’ follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.
Let’s start off by talking about what works in Hotel Artemis. The cast and performances are fantastic. Jodie Foster has one of her best roles and performances in years as The Nurse. Like seriously, I would love to see some kind of spin off movie involving her character. In addition to her, Dave Bautista turns in a solid performance as Everest, The Nurse’s assistant. He has some comedic relief and overall displays above average acting skills. The story follows a night at the Artemis, or as The Nurse says multiple times, “Just another Wednesday.” There are riots and chaos in the streets of LA and the King of the city Niagara (who also owns Hotel Artemis) has been injured and is en route to be admitted to this underground and secret hospital. As you can imagine, he’s a very important person who a lot of people would want to kill. The Artemis takes in injured criminals so the plot thickens when he arrives.
Another thing Hotel Artemis has going for it is the interesting and intriguing universe that its set in. There are a lot of mysterious characters and apparent events that have played out that make LA (and probably a lot of the world) in turmoil. There are several hints of the state being out of water and that is why the riots are happening. It doesn’t feel like a John Wick movie at all, but one could see how people would say that it is a “John Wick rip-off.” I wouldn’t go that far, but if the John Wick movies didn’t exist, Hotel Artemis could have been received better than it has so far. I think the interesting and mysterious universe it is set in definitely worked, though.
The biggest issue with Hotel Artemis is it’s too short. At an hour and thirty-six minutes, the movie just kind of feels incomplete and ultimately chopped up in the editing room. The editing isn’t bad at all, but it could have benefited from being two-hours long. The characters were so interesting, it could have been cool to dive into them a little more. Because of the runtime, it also hurts the story. When Hotel Artemis ends, it’s just leaves you with a “well that was fun, but what was the point?” thought.
The screenplay could have been more tight and constructed. There was a little too much medical talk and some of the encounters between characters were just odd and off-putting. There are also some pacing issues in the first act which is kind of frustrating because with a setting like this, a good screenplay should grab the viewer immediately. That was not the case with Hotel Artemis. On the contrary, the second act picks up a lot and its a fun watch.
Hotel Artemis isn’t a movie you should rush and see in theaters, but if it is at RedBox or on Netflix, then you should check it out. It’ll be interesting to see how it does at the box office mainly because they could definitely continue stories in this universe. Hopefully if it does get a sequel the screenplay will be better and the movie is a little longer.