In the avenues and alleyways of Los Angeles, trouble is brewing; it is June 2028 and the water supply has been cut off by Clearwater, and predictably and understandably the frustrated population of the city are rioting, the perfect distraction for a bank heist whose ambition quickly falters when the vault refuses to open. Tempers flaring among the crew, drawing the attention of the police and shots are exchanged; his brother injured, Sherman’s only hope is to get him to the Hotel Artemis.
Despite the neon sign atop the roof signalling its location the Hotel Artemis is a specialist establishment admitting fully paid-up members only, an exclusive clientele consisting of whose work-related injuries mean they cannot attend a more mainstream medical facility without fear of reprisal; simply put, it is a hospital for criminals, off the books, anonymous, no questions asked, with a strict set of house rules.
Assigned the Honolulu suite, Sherman’s injuries are not severe but his brother, in Waikiki, requires major surgery, a new liver printed by nanotechnology; while the Nurse and her orderly stabilise him and make preparations for emergency surgery, Sherman mingles with the other guests, the arrogant Acapulco and the reserved Nice.
Acapulco’s attention towards her switching to hostility towards them both when it becomes apparent that Sherman and Nice are acquainted, fortunately killing other patients is strictly forbidden. And then word comes of another patient incoming: the Wolf King, the man who owns most of Los Angeles and the Hotel Artemis itself, and whose stolen property Sherman has in his pocket…
The feature debut of director Drew Pearce, co-writer on both Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, a night in Hotel Artemis is costly and undesirable but eminently necessary for those able to afford its rates, and Pearce has assembled suitably impressive talent, each role cast so perfectly it is almost as if the parts were written with these performers in mind.
As Jean Thomas, devoted Nurse of the Hotel Artemis for twenty two years, Contact‘s Jodie Foster conceals her fragility beneath the bedside manner of a piranha towards those who push her, her almost-forgotten capacity for warmth reserved for those few who are in her good books, among them Sherman (Person of Interest‘s Sterling K Brown), a former patient who had promised her he was quitting the game, and her right-hand man-mountain Everest (Riddick‘s dependably brusque Dave Bautista).
Recuperating from a gunshot wound in the Nice suite is Star Trek Beyond‘s Sofia Boutella, demonstrating once again the breadth of her physical and artistic capability, while the Wolf King, housed in Niagara, is Thor: Ragnarok‘s Jeff Goldblum, eccentric and dangerous yet endearing, assured in himself, unlike his tempestuous son and heir apparent who accompanies him, Boutella’s former shipmate Zachary Quinto far from the calm discipline of the Masters of Gol.
Set across a single night, the heavy reliance on coincidence which brings the parties together can be overlooked in a well-paced and executed action thriller, yet set in a dark and dank corner of the future which recalls the cyberpunk dystopia of Max Headroom by way of The Purge, the film would work equally well without much of the intrusive gadgetry of holograms and nanotechnology which seem included only to justify Hotel Artemis‘ location within the landscape of science fiction.
Hotel Artemis on general release from Friday 20th July