Mayhem in the near future, messy and not that suspenseful.
Director: Drew Pearce
Screenplay: Pearce (M ission: Impossible-Rogue Nation)
Cast: Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs), Dave Bautista (guardians of the Galaxy)
Runtime: 1 hr 34 min
by John DeSando
“He did a deal with the Devil.” Niagara (Jeff Goldblum)
The Devil seems to have a permanent room at the Hotel Artemis, given the unusual harm inflicted in this secret hospital for criminals where these miscreants are supposed to be protected. Tended to by The Nurse (Jodie Foster), a benign Nurse Ratched it would seem, the denizens of this way station are dodging a near-future riot in Los Angeles, so just getting to the hospital takes pluck and luck.
Apparently stock characters are allowed in regardless of their wounds, for instance the mean, big-hearted assistant, big David Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Nasty assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella), a steamy femme fatale if there ever was one. However, thank goodness for many of writer/director Drew Pearce’s secondary characters: They have character even if in a mash up of too many small roles.
After the high of meeting potentially interesting characters, the film devolves into deadly cat and mouse games, never played with more brio than by Nice, the most lethal and task-oriented crook in the place. Niagara fulfills our expectations for the owner of the hospital resembling nothing less than a mafia boss. As the object of Nice’s disaffection, he proves a satisfactory target for her and our expectations for revenge.
The cinematography is typically red and dark, a Hell we’ve grown used to in these depressing future worlds. It all fits into the apocalyptic atmosphere encouraged by Blade Runner and other dystopian adventures.
Even a mature Jodie Foster, reminding us of better days when she descended into the Silence of the Lambs Hell, can’t make this mediocre madness into anything other than a cliché gone south.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com