I’m all for refurbishing film noir and all the private eyes in trench coats, redheads in silk dressing gowns, sweaty weirdos chain-smoking unfiltered Camels and revolvers with silencers that go with it. But Hotel Noir, written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, is too stylistically derivative of Robert Siodmak, Fritz Lang, Jean-Pierre Melville and Paramount B-movie hacks on the studio’s payroll (like George Marshall and Frank Tuttle) to smack of anything fresh and original, and too pokey and pedantic to keep you awake. It was filmed entirely inside the old Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles in 15 days for less than $300,000, so such luxuries as period cars, exotic locations and noirish Art Deco sets were out of the question—and it looks it. Neither a fogbound Alan Ladd crime picture nor a clever parody like Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, it lurks somewhere in the shadows in between. They aimed for Raymond Chandler and ended up with Mickey Spillane.
Still, the cast is worth watching, and it’s clear that Mr. Gutierrez loves the genre. Read More