Entertainment - 6.8
No John Wick
Lonita Cook reviews "Hotel Artemis" for act.land, and discovers an attempt at originality but a "close but no cigar" landing.
“Hotel Artemis,” written and directed by Drew Pearce, marks the directorial debut for this Iron Man 3 co-writer. It stars Jodie Foster as The Nurse, an older, foot shuffling health care professional who patches up criminals in their time of disrepair.
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us, Supernatural) knocks on the door with his bloody, younger brother, both with memberships intact, and is admitted to the hospital already hosting two other patients.
There is an orderly, a wolf, two sons, and a cop. Outside there are riots flooding a Los Angeles suffering decay. Guilt and anxiety lurk through the halls of Hotel Artemis. The plot and pickings grow even thinner from there.
The trailers for this movie get people pumped. Is this part of the John Wick series? It certainly feels like the place Mr. Wick would go if he needed medical attention. The membership, the rules, the clientele. Yes, sure feels like John Wick.
But, John Wick it ain’t.
Brown’s character, who never gets a real name, the guests are all named after international cities (oh, Pearce thinks he’s so cool), is perhaps the glue that is supposed to keep the story together. Maybe it’s Foster’s Nurse. Who knows? But the movie falls apart.
Too much is going on in terms of style, but not enough in terms of story.
As a director, Pearce is heavy handed. There is very little cause and effect. And with the lighting and framing, the plot is tortured, too manipulated. Much of what happens on-screen feels forced, inorganic to the moment. The dialogue is just hokey, yet still so pleased with itself.
Jeff Goldblum is a bright spot, but all the players spend this movie acting their hearts out, trying to revitalize a tired, flat lining script. The Nurse with all her futuristic gadgets can’t get this writing off life support.
Thank you for reaching toward originality. Unfortunately, this is a “close, but no cigar” situation. The underlying themes exploring the link between loss and anxiety are important, but overshadowed by the tell/tell dialogue, and show-off camera tricks. Every decision is visible, down to Wolf King’s shoes.
The biggest shame, and what keeps this movie from doing for Sterling K. what John Wick did for Keanu Reeves, is the lack of satisfaction. The key element to making an action thriller linger is the oomph, the octane, and the ‘yea’! But “Artemis” skims right over it in favor of showy, it-thinks-it’s-so-clever details.
The “Hope you enjoyed your stay at Hotel Artemis” message after the credits is the last bullet in the gut before the movie beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…