Warning: There are MANY spoilers to Hotel Artemis in this post. Please read anyway. You’ll be glad we spoiled it and saved you $10 and 2 hours.
Hotel Artemis looks like it should be fantastic. An A-List star on the screen at every moment. The setting in a near-future, dystopic Los Angeles. A premise that brings a disparate group of baddies together and traps them inside a confined space.
Sadly, there is nothing more than sketched out characters with no details colored in and pointless plot twists (and we use that word liberally) that leave you empty at best and scratching your head at worst. Hotel Artemis is the new definition of the word pointless.
The premise of the movie is LA is so f’d up in 2028 that criminals and vigilante justice rule the land, and riot after some faceless corporate giant turns off the water. The movie never discusses this again after it lets you know that it’s the cause of the current riot and that water is very expensive. We assume it’s set in the near-future of 2028 to make the audience feel like this type of situation is uncomfortably close. But who knows? They could have just pulled the year out of a hat.
The Artemis, a long closed hotel, serves as a secret, members-only hospital, where criminals pay an annual fee to be able to come and get taken care of. The full service hospital offers everything from minor bullet removal to a brand spankin’ new 3-D printed liver. Clearly healthcare is going to kick ass very soon!
Rules of the Night
But besides paying a fee, you gotta follow the rules. That is a point that is belabored over and over. The rules keep the place running, we’re told. But on this night, which seems pretty typical, everyone is breaking the rules, including Nurse, played by an over-haggardly looking Jodi Foster.
Foster does the best she can with what she’s got. But the script, director, and makeup artist do her no favors. We get it that this character shouldn’t look red carpet ready, but she’s only 55 and looks 75. It’s a bit much to the point of distraction.
The rules include things like no cops allowed (makes sense). No killing other patients (otherwise you quickly run out of clients). No guns (see the aforementioned ‘no killing’ rule).
But on the night in question, a cop gets admitted, patients turn on each other, and as for guns, let’s just say the 3-D printer can be used for more than producing livers. And the consequences are….??? We’re still waiting.
Plodding Plots Implode
We could sit here and disect every pointless plot for how ridiculous it is, but instead we’ll give you a short list and just hit the highlights.
- Sterling K. Brown’s character can’t leave a life of petty crime behind because that would mean abandoning his disappointing brother
- A cop pulls some (heart)strings and gets in, gets treated, and gets out without other patients either knowing or caring
- The cop is ‘discharged’ and wheeled out into the riot. We assume she’s able to fight her way through, but who knows (or cares)
- Charlie Day plays an arms dealer who wants to get treated, and then chill until a helicopter can come get him off the roof. We think his character was relevant to the overall ‘plot’ but can’t really remember
- Jeff Goldblum plays the main gangster in LA, and the hospital’s founder/benefactor. He shows up with an angry entourage led by his son (Zachary Quinto) and needing treatment.
- Goldblum’s character is Wolf King, a name so ridiculous even the movie says so
- Quinto’s character has his posse break through walls and bars to get inside the hospital, but already had the key
- Brown’s character inadvertently stole from Wolf and fears for his life. Wolf doesn’t (and couldn’t) know or care
There are more but you get the point. There is something of a common thread through the movie, but considering all the schlock dialogue you have to go through, it’s not worth pulling.
One Real Relationship
There are plenty of relationships in the film. Wolf King and his son’s strained relationship. Day’s hot history with Nice (Sophia Boutella). Brown’s relationship with his brother.
But the crux of the film, we think, is the relationship between Nurse & Orderly (Dave Bautista). They’ve worked together for years. While she doles out questionable care, he does the grunt work. It’s their thing and it works for them. And it sort of works for the movie.
At the end, she expects him to come with her as she abandons the Artemis, but he (needlessly) sacrifices himself and sends her on with one of the patients. The patient offers her a ride to safety and she (needlessly) declines, and walks off into the
sunset smoky riot.
If someone asked us to distill this film down in two words, we’d say needless and pointless.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Skip this film. There is no drink strong enough to help you sit through this movie. Go spend a couple of hours at a hotel bar instead.