Set in the not-too-distant future, the Hotel Artemis, this film’s namesake, is a place for injured and maimed criminals to go to for medical care, outside the eyes of the law. Taking place in the background is the worst riot Los Angeles has ever seen. So, to say the least, crime is rampant and nobody is safe, so it’s an especially busy time for the Hotel Artemis. However, in order to receive this care, you must be a paying member and abide by the rules, which includes no weapons and no killing other patients. Business has to stay out on the streets if this experiment is going to work, and it has for twenty-two years. But it will be this night when things change for the worse.
The bulk of this movie is carried by Jodie Foster, who plays the Nurse of the Hotel Artemis. She enforces the rules and is stern. The patients, all criminals, respect her because they know she’ll help if she’s able to. It is this nurse who receives the most screen time and the only character that has any real development throughout the story, which is limited.
Backing up Jodie Foster is Sterling K. Brown, well-known for his role in the ABC series This Is Us. Brown plays Waikiki, the name his character receives upon arriving at the hotel to get his brother much-needed care after a robbery has gone wrong. After the Nurse, Waikiki is the most seen character throughout the story.
Dave Bautista is present and plays Everest, the orderly who assists the Nurse get through the night. He also serves as the muscle in case anybody gets out of hand, which does happen.
Jeff Goldblum and Zachary Quinto are also a couple of criminals and they have a role, somewhere, in this story that is best left to be discovered while watching the movie.
If you haven’t already gotten the impression, so far, it’s important to point out that it’s a crowded cast for this film. There are some others who appear and many of them are big personalities. Unfortunately, there are no reasons to care about them.
Hotel Artemis, while certainly an entertaining movie, is mindless and goes nowhere. As mentioned before, the Nurse is the only character who sees development, which is still severely limited. She is an interesting and likable character, but outside the confines of the hotel, she doesn’t have much to offer and we know little about her past. It gets worse with every other character, all of whom we know absolutely nothing about. All we ever know about them is what happens onscreen. There is no real introspection, no flashbacks or histories offered, and, when it’s all over, no clear resolution for anybody. Nothing really happens.
If you shut yourself off and are content with fodder, this is the movie for you. Hotel Artemis lays an interesting foundation. In the end, it failed to prove itself and is an incomplete story. The film keeps itself open for a sequel, and so there may be an opportunity for improvement, which is easier said than done.