Hotel Artemis (3 stars)

Hotel Artemis

Jodie Foster slays in a beautifully shot and designed noir that owes a lot to John Wick

The writer of Iron Man 3, Drew Pearce, has amassed an impressive ensemble for his directorial debut, while his original screenplay wooed Jodie Foster out of an acting hiatus. Foster plays The Nurse who runs the titular hotel, which serves as a hospital for criminals who each pay an annual membership fee. The year is 2028, there are riots on the streets of downtown LA, and something major is set to go down in a futuristic noir that unfolds over one hot summer night.

The film hits the ground running – with a bank heist that goes wrong, sending brothers Waikiki (Sterling K Brown) and Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry) hurtling to the ER for urgent assistance. They're greeted by Foster's 70-year-old agoraphobic nurse and by orderly Everest (Dave Bautista) who check them in and throw out an accomplice who hasn't paid his fees. Patients Nice (Sofia Boutella) and Acapulco (Charlie Day) are already wandering the corridors, and a revered guest is hoping to get the last bed. The scene is neatly set and, like the board of a Cluedo game, you closely follow the players, working out who will be the first to kill who.

The comic book-style world-building, the darkened secret corridors and kinetic fight scenes are all delivered with flair, framed by Park Chan-wook's regular DP Chung Chung-hoon, who adds an immaculate grime to the action and 1920s-inspired art deco setting. The film riffs on violent Korean cinema and Raymond Chandler and, though the similarities to John Wick are off-puttingly obvious, there's a charm to the detailed design, with Cliff Martinez's music complementing the grubby elegance of the backdrop.

Foster's memorable performance is part no-nonsense Nurse Jackie meets the wisecracking Tallulah from her early film role in Bugsy Malone. She does something phenomenally enticing and charismatic with her line delivery, where youthful coolness occasionally cracks out from under the old-age prosthetics of her anxiety-riddled character. Basically, she slays. Much of the cast do similarly excellent work, with special mention going to Brown and Bautista, though Day does struggle with some of the hokey dialogue.

General release from Fri 20 Jul.

Hotel Artemis

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • UK
  • 1h 34min
  • Directed by: Drew Pearce
  • Cast: Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista

Future-set sci-fi following a nurse (Foster) who runs an emergency room for criminals only in a riot-torn Los Angeles. Despite some clunky dialogue here and there, this stylish noir is befitting of Foster's manifold talents.