Written and directed by Drew Pearce. A members only “hospital” for criminals run by a nurse and a large orderly set during a futuristic riot in Los Angeles. Running time 1 hour 34 minutes.
Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and his brother Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry) are in the middle of a heist when the cops show up and shoot at them. Honolulu gets injured, so Waikiki takes him to Hotel Artemis for help.
Upon arrival, the Nurse (Jodie Foster) greets them at the check-in which is a large cage door activated only if the patient is confirmed as a member by scanning their arm. Both Waikiki and Honolulu are confirmed and brought in for care. The Nurse takes them back to a room and starts working on Honolulu with high-tech futuristic medical equipment.
Meanwhile, other guests at Hotel Artemis, Nice (Sofia Boutella) and Acapulco (Charlie Day) get to know each other in the lounge. Waikiki joins the conversation and it becomes clear he has a history with Nice. Acapulco is unhappy and leaves to make arrangements to get out of Hotel Artemis. Nice and Waikiki figure out a pen his brother stole from the heist is actually a tiny vault with canary diamonds inside. The tiny vault is owned by Niagara (Jeff Goldblum) who owns all of Los Angeles which happens to be experiencing a large scale riot. Niagara has a reputation of drowning people who steal from him so Waikiki is now worried about Niagara coming for him.
The Hotel Artemis experiences periodic power outages which are taken care of by the orderly Everest (Dave Bautista ) who also takes care of all issues like checking patients out, assisting disgruntled or refused patients to the curb…
The Nurse gets a call from Niagara’s son, Cosby Franklin (Zachary Quinto) who tells her Niagara is injured and on the way to Hotel Artemis for help. Since he owns the place, she has no choice but to say yes even though her rooms are filling up…As the Nurse and Everest prepare for Niagara’s arrival, a new patient shows up.
Morgan (Jenny Slate) used to know Nurse’s son Bo when they were kids and is now connected to the police. She’s been injured and shows up to the street level entrance to Hotel Artemis. Rules say no cops, but Nurse has a soft spot for Morgan so she lets her in, against the advice of Everest. They get her fixed up and reminisce about the time when Morgan and Bo were little. The Nurse gets sentimental and leaves Everest the task of getting Morgan back out the door while she goes to meet Niagara, Cosby, and his gang of bodyguards.
As Everest is wheel-chairing Morgan out, they run into Waikiki who realizes they have broken the rules and treated a “cop”. Everest and Morgan get past him, while up on the roof other things are going on…Acapulco is on the roof waiting for a helicopter to pick him up. Nice is also up there preparing for her next assassin job…Meanwhile, Waikiki is busy with his brother Honolulu telling him of the situation of Niagara coming and they need to leave asap.
On the roof, Nice shuts up Acapulco so she can plant a small bomb on the roof to interrupt the door locks. The Nurse checks Niagara in, leaving his son and the bodyguards at the lobby gate/door. She takes him to his room and gets started. Under sedation, Niagara starts revealing truths about the death of Nurse’s son and what really happened. As she is about to take revenge, the roof bomb goes off causing Honolulu’s life support to turn off. She runs off to help Honolulu.
During the outage, Nice sneaks into Niagara’s room to complete her assassin job. Meanwhile, Cosby and the bodyguards go wild outside the gate and despite Nurse’s best efforts, Honolulu dies.
As Nurse helps Waikiki through a secret passage way to escape, Everest holds off Cosby and the bodyguards, and Nice holds off goons in a hallway.
Nurse and Waikiki make it outside to a waiting car. Nurse refuses to go with him so he leaves and she walks off into the night…
What I Liked
The stylized rooms matching the characters. So, Nice stays in a French themed room, Waikiki and Honolulu have a Hawaiian theme and so forth…The rest of the single floor “hospital” has a Mid-Century feel with the elevator being old-school style with the moving arm indicator, the warm glow of lighting, and rich fabrics and colors of the interior.
The high-tech component of the medical technology like using the 3-D printer to make a kidney (or gun), robotic arms performing surgeries or repairs, and computerized pop up screens. There is also a cool looking “knife” which is kind of like a laser used for medical reasons as well as a weapon.
The hallway fight scene with Nice and the goons is probably the most dynamic of the whole movie. Tight quarters, multiple fighters from different directions, and flowing outfit for Nice.
Jodie Foster develops her character with facial, emotional, vocal, and physical ticks which say a lot about her character. She does the best she can with what’s given.
What I Wished Was Better
So may things…I feel like Hotel Artemis was trying to hard to be like John Wick with certain exclusive elements; however, because all the other elements fell short, it didn’t work. Here we go…
The story. There wasn’t one. It was just “a typical Wednesday at the Artemis”. No background on why Los Angeles in mid-riot, how Niagara came to power, or why certain characters are even there. Unnecessary characters include Acapulco, Morgan, and Honolulu and could’ve been cut without altering the basics of the film. At all. Acapulco is there as an annoyance and through dialogue gives Waikiki a chance to talk about Nice’s killing skills. Cut him out–not needed. Morgan gives some insight into Nurse’s history; however, this is gone over with Niagara so she isn’t necessary. I get she is supposed to create a sense of urgency and “breaking the rules” when Nurse repeatedly reminds people about NOT breaking the rules. Still, cut her, not necessary. Waikiki could’ve gone to the Artemis without dragging Honolulu along, he could’ve picked up the pen vault at the heist, and so forth. All of Honolulu’s story points could’ve happened–except for dying–with Waikiki. So, he’s cut, not needed.
That leaves Nurse, Everest, Waikiki, Nice, Niagara, and Cosby as the main characters. Fewer people to follow, better for everyone. That being said…The dialogue is a bit clunky and cliche. “How long has it been?” “You know how long.” “Yeah, I know.” :/ Other dialogue is often delivered with muddy mumbling and “thrown away” making it difficult to follow or care. Plot points for each character didn’t create enough interest to care. Nice is there to do a job. Waikiki is there for medical care and move on; except that he has the pen vault to complicate things. Nurse is the nurse haunted by the memory of her dead son. Niagara is there for medical care (even though how he was injured is never mentioned; although, I think Nice had something to do with it since she’s waiting for him) and obviously to be assassinated. Everest is there to work but no history on how he got there.
The style, choppy dialogue, and “rules” of the establishment borrow from the John Wick universe but fall flat because it clearly isn’t to the caliber of John Wick. Overall, it lacked emotional engagement. I didn’t care about any of the characters or what happened to them.
Hotel Artemis tries but falls flat without a strong point to follow. It felt like a John Wick copycat film that was super boring. I asked myself many times while watching, “what is the point of this?” Some great actors in a unfortunate film. Recently added to Amazon Prime. Watch the trailer below:
Fun Facts: This is Drew Pearce’s directorial debut.