I had only one expectation for Drew Pearce’s directorial debut, Hotel Artemis. I wanted to have fun experiencing the amazing, star-studded ensemble cast play off one another. Unfortunately, it was never met. Instead, Hotel Artemis packs an unnecessarily convoluted narrative, unrealized world-building for a banal backdrop, and poor allocation of screen time, which results in a film that feels like a melting pot of half-baked concepts and ideas. The conclusion to the action romp loses any steam the movie had going for it, leaving you with a feeling of unfulfillment.
There is a slight amount of praise awarded for its solid performances and imaginative aesthetics (even if they never go far enough), but as it stands, this one-location action flick can never quite settle on what narrative footing, tone, or message it wants to leave us with. For a film that wastes so much time with feeding its audience expositional dialogue–from one-note characters about their motivation–the lack of understanding and control of its own world and setting is quite the accomplishment in itself. An anti-masterclass in “show don’t tell”.