OPINION: ‘Hotel Artemis’ focuses on characters

By Juan Calvillo

“Hotel Artemis” weaves together action movie tropes with amazing character development to produce an intense character focused title in a summer of big budget movies. Director and writer Drew Pearce wrote a science fiction movie with “Hotel Artemis” that will make the audience sit in their seat until the credits roll.

“Hotel Artemis” stars Jodie Foster as the Nurse, the proprietor of the hotel and nurse to its occupants. Dave Bautista plays Everest, the Nurse’s right hand man and enforcer. Sterling K. Brown is Waikiki, one half of a brother team alongside Brian Tyree Henry’s Honolulu.

Rounding out the cast of impressive talent are Sofia Boutella as Nice, like the city in France; not to be confused with it being nice to see more of the talented Boutella on screen. Finally, Jeff Goldblum makes an appearance as The Wolf King, the ruler of Los Angeles.

The setting for this science fiction film is a not too distant future of 2028 in Los Angeles. “Hotel Artemis” follows the Sci-Fi/action movie color by numbers by placing Los Angeles in the middle of a large riot. Brown and Henry are a brother thief team that has a job go wrong, thus making a visit to the Hotel Artemis a must.

The Hotel Artemis is a repurposed hotel that through the Nurses work doubles as a hospital for the more unsavory element of the city. From the arrival of the brothers until the conclusion of the film the themes of regret, anger and what to do next are the driving forces.

The audience is given very little information for the people that populate the Hotel Artemis. It is through the interactions with the Nurse that most of their back story is fleshed out. And again, the Nurse becomes the most interesting and impactful character because of that. Learning about how the Nurse became this shell of a person is insightful. Her past is established through some interesting flashback scenes that are sprinkled through the movie.

Foster’s turn as an anxious, regretful woman is the focus of this movie. The trailers made the movie seem more of an action flick that centered on the conflict between the brothers and the big bad played by Goldblum.

Surprisingly it is Foster’s the Nurse and her evolution throughout the film that is much more impressive. Although the action elements of the movie are thoroughly entertaining, it’s the internal character change that the Nurse goes through that should really impress the audience. If the idea of action gets viewers into theaters it is the nuance of a character like the Nurse that will grab them an not let go.

The movie is adept at one moment showing the brutality and cunning of the patients at Hotel Artemis. Then the very next moment reminding the viewer that the characters are flawed and have emotional baggage that put them there.

In the movies trailer, Brown is questioned by Fosters character, “I thought you were done with all this?” Brown’s character replies with a simple, “I got out. But you know how it goes.” This theme of it being easier to get in to things than out of them is what the movie eventually becomes about.

“Hotel Artemis” blends characters that are thoughtful, with action and the occasional funny line. This makes it a rare movie that entertains and gives viewers something to think about. “Hotel Artemis” is rated R for violence and language throughout, some sexual references, and brief drug use.

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