Wikipedia states this is a “British-Italian comedy” and a “horror-thriller” which I find as an amusing attempt at stating that it’s a genre defying film. Written and directed by Mike Figgs, Hotel (2001) does not have the cult following that it deserves. I found myself intrigued and repelled by this film enough to let it keep playing on Tubi not too long ago. And, for some reason, I found myself wanting to do a review on this quirky movie.
It’s a “film-within-a-film” type scenario that the viewer slips into. A film crew for the “Duchess of Malfi” is trying to work in Venice while it finds itself recorded by a documentary film maker. The horror of it all is that their hotel staff seem to be cannibals, which I humorously confused for real-world vampires at first.
Roger Ebert stated that it was like a “jazz improvisation,” and he did not seemed surprised that it would go over most people’s heads. I found it akin to a comic book woven together without the stylized veil that Marvel uses on some of its action montages for example. One of the more explicit sex scenes found itself referenced in one of my book reviews recently. Hotel (2001) seems to delight in exhibiting the extremes of human nature side-by-side in a morbid comedy-of-errors sort of way. It very nearly falls into the mockumentary category, but of what exactly… it beats me.
Even with its fabulous cast, it does not surprise me that it bombed at the box office with only 30K revenue. Yet, for me and those who also survived it’s viewing until the end, it’s that same cast that gets us through the full 114 minutes. Salma Hayek, Rhys Ifans, Lucy Liu, John Malkovich manage to get viewers invested in their respective character arcs. Hotel (2001) is a subtly avant-garde piece playing with a perverse aspect of reality. My suggestion for viewers on a film like this is to rewatch multiple times while following the trajectory of one specific character at a time; maybe then a glimmer of an answer will appear to the question it poses: “What was the point of this montage anyway?”
“Hotel (2001 Film.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 November 2022, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_(2001_film).
Hotel. Directed by Mike Figgs, produced by Moonstone Entertainment, 2001.
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