I’m always tempted by a 90 minute film. Thing is, that trim run-time can go either way; concise set up and execution or a 45 minute idea padded out.
Hotel Artemis is definitely the former. The main players are all introduced quickly, as is the main conceit – Future LA has a hospital exclusively for criminals. And what a cast to being it all together! Ever since his star turn in S5E14 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I’ve know I could likely watch Sterling K.Brown read a phone book and I’d be all-in. He’s a got a cool, considered charm, which matches his characters ‘I’ve got a plan’ style perfectly. Plus he’s wearing a lovely suit. He’s assured, and he needs to be, as opposite him is Jodie Foster, and she’s on fire.
The role of ‘Nurse’ is simple, someone who has seen it all and keeps on going. But Foster has taken the bones of this character and fleshed her out, using everything from clipped speech and mannerisms to show her character’s slowly dissolving no-nonsense attitude. Even how she walks, as if she’s always getting away from something, informs our knowledge of the character. Brilliant work.
There’s a whiff of John Wick in the idea of a world for criminals, but I think Hotel Artemis is best as a one and done. It would be easy to try and build off the foundations set here, but it would have to be clever to pull off this trick again.
Drew Pearce’s directorial debut proves itself a lean, focused affair with some fantastic performances.