hoTel ArTemis (Drew Pearce) is the sort of movie you should go see before your friends spoil all the best parts. In his feature directorial debut, screenwriter Pearce – who cowrote Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – does what all the best pulp filmmakers do: he establishes a world, introduces some characters, defines their conflicts and immediately complicates the hell out of everything. The setting is a near-future Los Angeles during a chaotic riot, where an assortment of anonymous, wounded people arrive at the eponymous location – a secret hospital for criminals who can afford membership – and almost immediately find themselves at each other’s throats. It’s Reservoir Dogs meets John Wick during the Purge, with a dream cast of pros including Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Charlie Day and Zachary Quinto and a couple of people I am reluctant to name, in case you haven’t seen the trailer. Pearce makes the most of a modest budget, limiting the action to a handful of locations but making sure everything plays out in the most interesting manner possible, with a running motif that pairs characters up in isolation but keeps shifting the pairings, so Foster gets a quiet moment with almost everyone and Brown and Boutella can build an intriguing love/hate thing between big fights. And the big fights, when they come, are similarly well executed; a hallway standoff late in the picture is one of the most satisfying things I’ve seen this year. 108 min. nnnn (Norman Wilner)
Dave Bautista and Jodie Foster check in to Hotel Artemis.