Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum
Transfer Quality: Not bad
In the near future, city-wide riots erupt in Los Angeles over the privatization of water and the streets are literally ablaze. Amid this disturbingly plausible scenario, a rogues gallery of casualties from LA’s criminal underworld admit themselves into a high-tech, underground clinic for villains called the Hotel Artemis where the drama plays out.
After re-watching Blade Runner (for the millionth time) I had a hankering for similar futuristic neo-noir and this fit the bill. It’s a flawed film, but it does try. It’s more of a character and dialogue driven stage production than an action film and it succeeds on that level. The performances and characterization are all pretty solid and these are the film’s strengths amid a muddled plot.
Jodie Foster is great as the clinic’s tormented nurse. Sterling K. Brown is excellent as always as a wounded, noble bank robber. Charlie Day is obnoxiously sleazy as a creepy arms dealer. Jeff Goldblum makes a walk-on performance as a powerful Malibu mob lord with Zachary Quinto, in an uncharacteristically aggressive role, as his ruthless son. And for a little bit of badass, hand to hand combat action we get Dave Bautista as a monster orderly and Sophia Boutella as an ass-kicking acrobatic assassin.
Overall, the actors and their relationships hold the film together, but unfortunately, the off-kilter story crumbles into an uneven climax with an abrupt open ending. I can’t really imagine a reason for a sequel to this film. I mean it doesn’t have as much edge as, say, John Wick, which seems to be the movie’s main influence. Still, it is watchable and it is set in a cool, dark world.