The summer movie season has finally started for 2018. With it brings  the usual summer blockbusters and superhero fare that has come to be  expected. However, there can be some hidden gems among these movies, and  Hotel Artemis is one of them. The directorial debut of Drew Pearce (who created the show No Heroics, and co-wrote the story for Iron Man 3), is a rather good one, aided by an excellent ensemble cast of talented actors.

Image from IMDb

The film takes place in not-too-distant future Los Angeles. Public  utilities like water and power have been privatized, people are rioting  in the streets, and black outs are frequent. However, as the Nurse  (Jodie Foster, in her first film role in five years) puts it, it’s just  another Wednesday. She, along with her orderly/security Everest (Dave  Bautista) run the Hotel Artemis, a secret hospital for high end  criminals to use in emergency situations. The night at the Artemis seems  like a usual Wednesday night, with its guests including a sleazy and  surly arms dealer named Acalpulco (Charlie Day), and a sultry and sullen  assassin named Nice (Sofia Boutella).

However, the night begins to take an interesting turn when bank  robbers Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry)  come in for an emergency treatment following a botched bank robbery. The  two robbers have unknowingly stolen property from a notorious crime  lord known as the “Wolf King of L.A.” (Jeff Goldblum). Specifically,  they stole $18 million dollars in yellow diamonds, stored in a fancy  looking pen. With the Wolf King on his way for an emergency treatment,  as well a cop showing up and begging for help, the Artemis has just  become a powder keg waiting to blow.

It is immediately evident from the start that one of the major  strengths of the film is its ensemble cast (which was heavily featured  in the film’s advertising). Each actor in the film turns in a good,  though sometimes just serviceable, performance. However, there are a few  stand outs among the cast. The first is Jodie Foster as the Nurse, who  has been keeping herself secluded in the Artemis for 22 years due to the  guilt over losing her son. The second goes to Sterling K. Brown as  Waikiki, a career criminal who has the makings of someone who could make  something of himself, but is held back because of the loyalty to his  brother Honolulu. Another great performance comes from David Bautista as  Everest, who steals every scene he is in with his presence, humor, and  clever dialogue. However, the most surprising performance comes from  Charlie Day as Acapulco. He takes the usual loudmouth energy of his  traditonal roles, and channels it into playing a sleazy, contemptible  scumbag of a person. He will have the audience begging for him to get a  violent death.

Image from IMDb

Despite what the advertising may show, there is not a lot of action  in the film. However, it more than makes up for it with the interactions  between the patrons of the Artemis. The different personalities bounce  off of one another, with hints of an implied past between Waikiki and  Nice. However, when things start to go to hell in a handbasket, the  movie more than makes up for it in the action. With fantastic stunt work  and fight scenes being done, the movie makes the waiting for the action  up to that point worth it.

However, the movie still has its flaws, namely when it comes to its  setting. The riots happening in Los Angeles barely play into the plot at  all, and they only serve to get the wounded cop to the Artemis, which  could honestly be done without. The only way the story takes advantage  of the fact that it set in the future is to have technology such as  nanites, organs made from 3D printers, and robotic auto-doctors. Aside  from the riots and the future technology, the setting doesn’t seem too  different from today. As a matter of fact, the Hotel Artemis wouldn’t  feel out of place in the John Wick films.

Image from IMDb

One element that barely comes into play is the pen containing the  yellow diamonds. It is first used to establish that the Wolf King does  not take kindly to anyone stealing his property, and that Waikiki and  Honolulu have landed in hot water. However, it does not play into  anything else. The Wolf King does not even find out about the stolen  diamonds.

Another flaw of the film would come down to its plot. The film gets  the ball rolling in the opening scene, establishing the setting through  news broadcasts, and shows Honolulu and Waikiki’s bank robbery. However,  things start to slow down during the second act, which gives time for  the Nurse and the Artemis’s patrons to interact with each other. The  pacing of the second act will annoy people that are looking for action  packed scenes. However, as stated earlier, it makes up of the lack of  action in its climax.

Featured image from Tennessean

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