"Hotel Noir" is not a good movie. It has too many deficiencies that
make it bad and make it uncomfortable to watch because it is so bad. I
had almost given up on it when suddenly it began to come together
better 53 minutes into the movie when it depicted a heist. At that
point, the story picked up and the photography picked up. The acting
and dialog then became at least tolerable. But before that, this
picture is a disaster. Throughout the film, every actor has to deliver
impossibly clunky lines. One thing that works well is how the
interactions of the characters come together. That's done well, but
forget the monologues.Before that 53 minute mark, we basically have endlessly verbose scenes.
If the dialog were good, this wouldn't be bad. But the dialog stinks.
It's way, way off key. If this is the writer's idea of noir or noir
homage or noir parody or noir anything, it fails badly. The main
detective is played by Rufus Sewell, a Brit. His acting is OK, but he's
miscast. His accent does nothing for an American-style film. His part
is also bad, as he is so passive. He even puts a briefcase full of
money under the bed! This is so bad. Robert Forster, who plays his
partner, is much more effective. Even he has bad lines to deliver.The makeup on the women doesn't look either good or right. The singing
and dancing routines are flat, badly done, and off-key. Danny De Vito
is fine, but mostly out of place. The sequence that starts the movie
has no connection to it. The movie most certainly does not recreate the
40s or 50s or any noir movie from that era. I fail to see why the
acting of Rosario Dawson is lauded by critics or admirers. To me, her
acting is non-existent. She's totally unconvincing. Carla Gugino is
better, but she seems lost in her part. Malin Akerman makes a valiant
attempt to create her character, which is somewhat better written, but
she simply does not succeed in bringing her to life as a real woman.
This is a problem throughout the movie. The characters simply do not
seem real, and that goes back to the lines they've been assigned to
deliver.I like some of the photography. It helps in sitting through this one.
The ending is neat too.John Grant thinks this film is terrific. He sees it as filled with
notable one-liners. You'll have to make up your own mind. I give the writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez credit for an honest
attempt at something, but I do not know what. He created something here
that came out of his artistic soul, but what is it? What's to be our
critical judgment? Mine is that he didn't know enough about film noir
to make an actual noir or even a neo-noir. He has given us a few good
moments, but the rest of it is simply weird in any places. Characters
deliver long monologues that are decidedly unmotivated, unreal,
uninteresting and unrelated to the story. The actors cannot put this
across. What was Gutierrez thinking? The movie isn't intended as a
parody. It's filmed and edited smoothly. There is professionalism here.
But the project is simply peculiar and fails to gel into something
serious. It has a high dose of self-conscious introspection by the
characters that they pour out to us. This is not how to achieve good
drama, melodrama or noir. Shakespeare could do it in measured doses,
but Gutierrez is no bard.