Country of Hotels (2023) Film Review
It’s the first thing on your mind when the credits roll Julio Maria Martino‘s A country of hotels is that there is no need to complicate such a good story. It’s a complicated and exaggerated version of something you’ve seen before in movies that depict normal conditions as purgatory, hell, or limbo for ordinary people. Unfortunately, Martino’s film doesn’t stand tall alongside its peers as he insists on making his film much more than it really is and should be. When you watch it, try this exercise: think about the most interesting things in the movie. From performances to camera effects. Separate them and you get something better than what I got after trying it.
This is the story of a hotel in which strange things happen. The victims are ordinary people in some sort of moral conundrum, and a particular room has the power to conjure up their own demons. At least that’s what I could observe beyond the nudity, gratuitous sex, and lousy acting. It plays like some kind of anthology, with no story arc, except if you count the random presence of hotel workers with a few punchlines. There is little to see beyond this initial setup. Martino strives for total mystery in how his stories end, and there is something substantial here, particularly through the use of a painting device that purports to represent something that has never been confirmed. This was actually an interesting point in the film, which unfortunately was not developed further in some good shots and, ominously, people were stuck in the picture.
One almost wonders if it is really necessary to make a film that misses the mark so grossly. But creatively, it’s hard to deal with. There’s actually a good idea here, and it goes really well in the first segment, when a questionable relationship has dire consequences. Martino plots a plot for both themes and manages to give them enough dramatic fuel to make us care. However, if you manage to understand what’s going on, congratulations. As for me, I’m still waiting for confirmation on where they ended up and how the overnight stay in the room worked out for them. That’s anyone’s guess.
Martino has something here. We have enough knowledge to understand that there is a storytelling potential that was unfortunately not exploited properly this time around A country of hotels it will be a complex absence that you will likely forget quickly.