In a ravaged, war-torn future—is there any other kind?—there’s a place where bad guys can get medical attention without alerting the authorities: Hotel Artemis. Of course, you have to be a card-carrying member, and there are rules: no guns, no cops, and no killing the other patients. This high-security operation is housed high atop a Los Angeles skyscraper, the brainchild of The Nurse (Jodie Foster, front and center). The Nurse performs the surgical duties single-handedly using all the latest robotic technology circa 2028 (that’s, like, soon), supported and protected by a beefy “health care professional” cum orderly (beefy Dave Bautista from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise). Current patients include Sterling K. Brown as a bank robber, Sofia Boutella playing exactly the same assassin character she played in the original Kingsman film (only without the killer gams), and Charlie Day as a nasty piece of work with an even nastier moustache. Smaller roles go to Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry as Brown’s gutshot brother, Jenny Slate as an injured cop with a back story, and Jeff Goldblum as a kingpin called the Wolf King of L.A. Sporting some kind of dire neck wound and seeking $18 million worth of stolen ice, the Wolf King is headed to the Hotel Artemis with a heavily-armed entourage led by his blustering, pathetic son (Zachary Quinto, playing against type). The film is idiotically entertaining from start to finish, set-designed to die for (in a good way) and quotably written by first-time director Drew Pearce (probably inspired after watching Lucky Number Slevin on a slow night). But it’s Foster’s adorably wacky performance that steals the show and makes the whole gleefully-gratuitous affair plumb worthwhile.
(c) 2019 David N. Butterworth