Hotel Artemis – a fresh breeze          

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Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, Hotel Artemis is an original, high-octane action thriller starring Jodie Foster as “the Nurse”, who runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals.

What a relief it is not to be bombarded by OTT blockbuster explosions, ten-car pile-ups, endless gore and ridiculous plot lines. For that alone, Hotel Artemis deserves an award of some kind. Luckily, it is not all this almost-noir film has to offer.

The characters are a joy to experience (and were also perfectly cast). They are not too cool, too typical. In other words, they are not locked into a certain persona, but are free to move. Their loyalties and patterns changing throughout the film feels completely natural.

Jodie Foster’s Nurse is delightful, with her old-timey New York accent, her exaggerated shuffle from crisis to crisis and her unpredictably upbeat demeanour in this dystopian world. She does not under- or overplay a mother who has lost a son (a storyline which adds to the depth of the film).

Sofia Boutella’s dance training and animal-like grace make her perfect as Nice, the coffee cup-wielding assassin. Her acting chops are not far behind her physical prowess. She seamlessly transforms from violent assassin to vulnerable woman in a matter of seconds.

Sterling K Brown is perfect as the robber with integrity, as a big brother looking after his baby brother. Dave Bautista is turning out to be a valuable addition to any film. As Everest, his aggression towards trespassers is perfectly rounded off by his tenderness towards Nurse. Jeff Goldblum can do whatever he damn well wants. The hotel itself serves as a dark green steampunk character, with new tech but old-world charm, a single front door but many hidden passages.

If only these characters had more to do. I appreciate the simple storyline, I do, but it was too short. I would have loved another half an hour with these characters. They are so well written you could’ve thrown a couple of extra curveballs in without losing them, without going overboard or giving up any of the mood or values of the film.

Let’s hope there is a sequel.

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